Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tie Knots the Fun and Easy Way - Animated

Animated Knots by Grog

Better to know a knot and not need it, than need a knot and not know it.

Animated Knots

Pandemic Influenza Preparedness

Preparing for a pandemic influenza outbreak involves everybody. The threat of pandemic influenza is real, and America needs leadership from respected community members to prepare our towns and cities, reduce the impact of pandemic flu on individuals and families, and reduce or even prevent serious damage to the economy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health experts agree that it is not a question of IF a pandemic will occur, but WHEN it will occur. If America is not adequately prepared, pandemic flu could seriously affect everyone economically.

Emergency military hospital during influenza epidemic, Camp Funston, Kansas, United States.

Government alone can’t prepare the nation for pandemic flu; this challenge requires your help. As a leader in your community, you can play a powerful role in encouraging your employees, patients, and members and others whom you represent to prepare by providing information and guidance and by preparing yourself.

This kit was developed by HHS and CDC along with input from community leaders. It is designed to provide you with key information and tools to help your organization or practice understand the threat of a pandemic and prepare for it now.

This toolkit provides the following:

  • Information for you about pandemic flu
  • Ready-to-use and ready-to-tailor resources prepared by HHS and CDC
  • Ideas and materials to encourage your organization to prepare and to encourage other leaders to get involved

Pandemic preparedness efforts are an important part of community leadership. We thank you for joining community leaders across the Nation in taking steps to ensure America’s health and prosperity in the 21st century.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Pandemic Flu Preparedness Toolkit

College Survival Tips

14. Minimize food budget by scheduling classes around Happy Hour.
13. Enjoy being a Sophomore — It will be the best three years of your life.
12. Wear an athletic cup to panty raids, because it’s all fun and games until someone loses their ‘nads.
11. Lemon juice and baking soda make an excellent bong water stain remover.
10. Earn extra cash by parlaying chemistry knowledge into lucrative “home pharmaceuticals” business.
9. If an 8:00 am class is required for your major, change your major.
8. Boring lecture? Start a wave!
7. College-level algebra: 5 returnable bottles = 1 delicious Ramen Noodle dinner.
6. “I Phelta Thi” is *not* a real fraternity, except at state colleges.
5. Remember - almost no one complains when you puke in a dumpster.
4. Clever margin manipulation can turn a 4-page outline into a 100-page senior essay.
3. Football games were never meant to be observed by sober people.
2. Don’t think of it as sleeping with your professor — think of it as “acing Biology.”
And the Number 1 Tip for Surviving College…
1. In a pinch, milk can be used as a beer substitute in your breakfast cereal.

Worldwide Subway Maps

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Real-Time Quotes for World Currencies & Metals

Precious Metals Real-Time Quotes
Gold, Silver, Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium

Base Metals Real-Time Quotes
Copper, Nickel, Aluminum, Zinc, Lead

World Currencies Real-Time Quotes
Australian Dollar, Brazilian Reals, British Pound, Canadian Dollar, Euro, Indian Rupee, Japanese Yen, Mexican Pesos, Russian Ruble, South African Rand, Sweedish Krona, Swiss Franc

22 Hurricane Survival Tips

A must-see video to learn what to do before, during, and after a hurricane.

More DIY videos at

How to Survive a Back-Alley Knife Fight

[As mentioned by more than one astute reader, much of this article is total B.S. Moreover, by following these actions, you may risk great bodily harm or death. This 'advice' from Double Viking should be considered FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. - c]

You are coming home from the bar at two o’clock in the morning. You’re dumb enough to take that shortcut, and boom: you are stuck in a back-alley. A shadowy figure is approaching you, and the demonic glint in his eye matches the streetlight reflection off his blade. How will you survive? You enter ATTACK MODE, that's how.

WARNING: Graphic Knife Wound Photo

The most important thing is to control your attacker’s knife. Every move you make should be a means to that end. Since I believe you should never be unarmed in a knife fight, I urge all my readers to carry a pocketknife at all times. I would like to introduce you to my knife.

It’s quick, it's light, and the half-serrated blade is great for sawing through the bones of your enemy (enemies hate having their bones sawed through). But I digress: controlling the knife is really about controlling distance. Simply put, you need to put yourself in a position where you can stab while avoiding getting stabbed. When your enemy closes in, make a note of what hand he has the knife in. DO NOT LET HIM STAB YOU WITH THIS HAND. Try to circle around so he has to reach across his body to stab you. In the case that he squares himself to you, throw a front kick into his stomach to let him know you've done this before, and just because it feels good to kick stomachs.

Try to use the darkness of the alley to your advantage. Just because your enemy is actively trying to stab you to death doesn’t mean you can’t cut his pancreas out and sell it to a Vietnamese steak house (I believe Confucius coined that phrase. At any rate, I first saw it on a fortune cookie.). Use anything around to distract your opponent and control the weapon. If you have a jacket or a sweatshirt take it off and use it to wrap up his knife hand. Another good technique is the French “Saber and cloak” method, accomplished by taking your "cloak" (in your case, a jacket or sweatshirt, unless you wear a cloak, in which case: welcome to the future, time traveler) and wrap it around your off-hand for use in deflecting oncoming sword blows. Try to disarm him your enemy with a swift punch to the wrist. Call him names he's never heard before. Any advantage you can find could save your life. With your wrapped hand, smash through a window and grab a shard of glass. With a glass shank in one hand and a pocketknife in the other, who’s really in trouble?

If you do find yourself “mano a mano," and you've gained control of his knife, you'll have to cut him to end it. First, go for the arms so your attacker can't strike back. This is about survival. If you cut the back of his arm across his triceps you will probably hit the brachial artery, which will cause your enemy to bleed out within minutes. This is a fight-ender to be sure, but it is also a surefire ticket to prison. If you are flexible enough, you may opt instead to kick your opponent hard in the face. This will cause him to question his entire upbringing. If you are lucky, he will utter the phrase, "Why, mommy?" before losing consciousness. As always, if your kick does not land, simply repeat. It only takes one good kick to the face to destroy the will of even the most frenzied attacker. Just ask Chuck Norris. Since you now have both knives, you also have the option of throwing one knife up in the air towards him, and, as he looks up to grab it out of the air, fire the other knife toward him as hard as you can. If you do it right, it should strike him squarely, lift him off his feet, and pin him to the wall, leaving him just enough breath to choke out one last, "Damn you, you'll never get the emeralds..." or whatever he wants his villainous last words to be. (Note: The high-low combination is also a killer finishing move for snowball fights.)

Again, persistence is the name of the game. If any of these techniques fail the first time, simply try them again. If you are badly injured in the process, hey, those are the wages of back-alley knife fighting.

Since this is mainly about survival, it should go without saying that if you're not actually trapped in the alley, make a run for it and avoid all the stickiness that comes with stabbing or being stabbed. There may be other ways, depending on the back-alley, for you to forge an escape. Examples: you can pull a fire escape down on your enemy's face; if there is a hanging chandelier, you can cut the rope that holds it and bring it crashing down on your enemy's face; you can repeatedly punch your enemy's face. But in the case that you truly are trapped, you now have all the information you need to survive. May you live to fight another day. --

Scale of the Universe

Nikon's Universcale web app. puts the entire universe into proportion, from the smallest particle to the largest measurements of space.

From the femtometer to the light year, Universcale spans 40 magnitudes of measurement into a single cosmic web application.

It's really amazing when you zoom all the way out into stars and galaxies and then realize that every time you go a magnitude higher, everything you saw before, from the flea to Mount Everest, is contained in this tiny little grid in the lower-left side of the screen. Of course, the Carl Sagan-should-be-narrating-this planetarium music helps.

If you have a few minutes and want to feel really, really small (or really, really large, or really, really disoriented), check out Universcale. It will eat up your afternoon and enlighten you as to the true size and scope of the cosmos.

Exploring Maps

This is an outstanding learning tool that teaches how to use a map.

Chapters include: Location, Navigation, Exploration

This Exploring Maps—Teaching Packet—PDF Version was originally published and printed in 1993. The online edition contains full text from the original publication. Some images have been modified or added to improve the scientific visualization of information.

To view and print PDF's install the Acrobat® Reader, available at no charge from Adobe Systems.

This document has undergone official review and approval for publications established by the National Mapping Division, U.S. Geological Survey.

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey Department of the Interior/USGS

Exploring Maps (PDF)

Emergence and Reemergence of Infectious Diseases

Part 1 of a congressional briefing hosted by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies on "Preparing for the Next Disease: The Human-Wildlife Connection" presented by Dr. Milton Friend, Emeritus Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey, on September 26, 2003.

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey Department of the Interior/USGS

Slide Show

USGS Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases

General Field Procedures and Diseases of Birds is a revision and expansion of the USGS 1988 Volume 1, Field Guide to Wildlife Diseases.

Chapters include: general field procedures, bacterial diseases, fungal diseases, viral diseases, parasites and parasitic diseases, biotoxins, chemical toxins, more.

Credit: U.S. Geological Survey Department of the Interior/USGS

438 pages, Approx. 43 Mb

Field Manual of Wildlife Diseases (PDF Download)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Psychology of Survival

It takes much more than the knowledge and skills to build shelters, get food, make fires, and travel without the aid of standard navigational devices to live successfully through a survival situation. Some people with little or no survival training have managed to survive life-threatening circumstances. Some people with survival training have not used their skills and died. A key ingredient in any survival situation is the mental attitude of the individual(s) involved. Having survival skills is important; having the will to survive is essential.


Before we can understand our psychological reactions in a survival setting, it is helpful to first know a little bit about stress.
Stress is not a disease that you cure and eliminate. Instead, it is a condition we all experience. Stress can be described as our reaction to pressure. It is the name given to the experience we have as we physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually respond to life's tensions.

Need for Stress

We need stress because it has many positive benefits. Stress provides us with challenges; it gives us chances to learn about our values and strengths. Stress can show our ability to handle pressure without breaking; it tests our adaptability and flexibility; it can stimulate us to do our best. Because we usually do not consider unimportant events stressful, stress can also be an excellent indicator of the significance we attach to an event--in other words, it highlights what is important to us.

We need to have some stress in our lives, but too much of anything can be bad. The goal is to have stress, but not an excess of it. Too much stress can take its toll on people and organizations. Too much stress leads to distress. Distress causes an uncomfortable tension that we try to escape and, preferably, avoid. Listed below are a few of the common signs of distress you may find in your fellow soldiers or yourself when faced with too much stress:
  • Difficulty making decisions.
  • Angry outbursts.
  • Forgetfulness.
  • Low energy level.
  • Constant worrying.
  • Propensity for mistakes.
  • Thoughts about death or suicide.
  • Trouble getting along with others.
  • Withdrawing from others.
  • Hiding from responsibilities.
  • Carelessness.

As you can see, stress can be constructive or destructive. It can encourage or discourage, move us along or stop us dead in our tracks, and make life meaningful or seemingly meaningless. Stress can inspire you to operate successfully and perform at your maximum efficiency in a survival situation. It can also cause you to panic and forget all your training. Key to your survival is your ability to manage the inevitable stresses you will encounter. The survivor is the soldier who works with his stresses instead of letting his stresses work on him.

Survival Stressors

Any event can lead to stress and, as everyone has experienced, events don't always come one at a time. Often, stressful events occur simultaneously. These events are not stress, but they produce it and are called "stressors." Stressors are the obvious cause while stress is the response. Once the body recognizes the presence of a stressor, it then begins to act to protect itself.

In response to a stressor, the body prepares either to "fight or flee." This preparation involves an internal SOS sent throughout the body. As the body responds to this SOS, several actions take place. The body releases stored fuels (sugar and fats) to provide quick energy; breathing rate increases to supply more oxygen to the blood; muscle tension increases to prepare for action; blood clotting mechanisms are activated to reduce bleeding from cuts; senses become more acute (hearing becomes more sensitive, eyes become big, smell becomes sharper) so that you are more aware of your surrounding and heart rate and blood pressure rise to provide more blood to the muscles. This protective posture lets a person cope with potential dangers; however, a person cannot maintain such a level of alertness indefinitely.

Stressors are not courteous; one stressor does not leave because another one arrives. Stressors add up. The cumulative effect of minor stressors can be a major distress if they all happen too close together. As the body's resistance to stress wears down and the sources of stress continue (or increase), eventually a state of exhaustion arrives. At this point, the ability to resist stress or use it in a positive way gives out and signs of distress appear. Anticipating stressors and developing strategies to cope with them are two ingredients in the effective management of stress. It is therefore essential that the soldier in a survival setting be aware of the types of stressors he will encounter. Let's take a look at a few of these.

Injury, Illness, or Death

Injury, illness, and death are real possibilities a survivor has to face. Perhaps nothing is more stressful than being alone in an unfamiliar environment where you could die from hostile action, an accident, or from eating something lethal. Illness and injury can also add to stress by limiting your ability to maneuver, get food and drink, find shelter, and defend yourself. Even if illness and injury don't lead to death, they add to stress through the pain and discomfort they generate. It is only by con-trolling the stress associated with the vulnerability to injury, illness, and death that a soldier can have the courage to take the risks associated with survival tasks.

Uncertainly and Lack of Control

Some people have trouble operating in settings where everything is not clear-cut. The only guarantee in a survival situation is that nothing is guaranteed. It can be extremely stressful operating on limited information in a setting where you have limited control of your surroundings. This uncertainty and lack of control also add to the stress of being ill, injured, or killed.


Even under the most ideal circumstances, nature is quite formidable. In survival, a soldier will have to contend with the stressors of weather, terrain, and the variety of creatures inhabiting an area. Heat, cold, rain, winds, mountains, swamps, deserts, insects, dangerous reptiles, and other animals are just a few of the challenges awaiting the soldier working to survive. Depending on how a soldier handles the stress of his environment, his surroundings can be either a source of food and protection or can be a cause of extreme discomfort leading to injury, illness, or death.

Hunger and Thirst

Without food and water a person will weaken and eventually die. Thus, getting and preserving food and water takes on increasing importance as the length of time in a survival setting increases. For a soldier used to having his provisions issued, foraging can be a big source of stress.


Forcing yourself to continue surviving is not easy as you grow more tired. It is possible to become so fatigued that the act of just staying awake is stressful in itself.


There are some advantages to facing adversity with others. As soldiers we learn individual skills, but we train to function as part of a team. Although we, as soldiers, complain about higher headquarters, we become used to the information and guidance it provides, especially during times of confusion. Being in contact with others also provides a greater sense of security and a feeling someone is available to help if problems occur. A significant stressor in survival situations is that often a person or team has to rely solely on its own resources.

The survival stressors mentioned in this section are by no means the only ones you may face. Remember, what is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another. Your experiences, training, personal outlook on life, physical and mental conditioning, and level of self-confidence contribute to what you will find stressful in a survival environment. The object is not to avoid stress, but rather to manage the stressors of survival and make them work for you.
We now have a general knowledge of stress and the stressors common to survival; the next step is to examine our reactions to the stressors we may face.


Man has been able to survive many shifts in his environment throughout the centuries. His ability to adapt physically and mentally to a changing world kept him alive while other species around him gradually died off. The same survival mechanisms that kept our forefathers alive can help keep us alive as well! However, these survival mechanisms that can help us can also work against us if we don't understand and anticipate their presence.

It is not surprising that the average person will have some psychological reactions in a survival situation. We will now examine some of the major internal reactions you and anyone with you might experience with the survival stressors addressed in the earlier paragraphs. Let's begin.


Fear is our emotional response to dangerous circumstances that we believe have the potential to cause death, injury, or illness. This harm is not just limited to physical damage; the threat to one's emotional and mental well-being can generate fear as well. For the soldier trying to survive, fear can have a positive function if it encourages him to be cautious in situations where recklessness could result in injury. Unfortunately, fear can also immobilize a person. It can cause him to become so frightened that he fails to perform activities essential for survival. Most soldiers will have some degree of fear when placed in unfamiliar surroundings under adverse conditions. There is no shame in this! Each soldier must train himself not to be overcome by his fears. Ideally, through realistic training, we can acquire the knowledge and skills needed to increase our confidence and thereby manage our fears.


Associated with fear is anxiety. Because it is natural for us to be afraid, it is also natural for us to experience anxiety. Anxiety can be an uneasy, apprehensive feeling we get when faced with dangerous situations (physical, mental, and emotional). When used in a healthy way, anxiety urges us to act to end, or at least master, the dangers that threaten our existence. If we were never anxious, there would be little motivation to make changes in our lives. The soldier in a survival setting reduces his anxiety by performing those tasks that will ensure his coming through the ordeal alive. As he reduces his anxiety, the soldier is also bringing under control the source of that anxiety--his fears. In this form, anxiety is good; however, anxiety can also have a devastating impact. Anxiety can overwhelm a soldier to the point where he becomes easily confused and has difficulty thinking. Once this happens, it becomes more and more difficult for him to make good judgments and sound decisions. To survive, the soldier must learn techniques to calm his anxieties and keep them in the range where they help, not hurt.

Anger and Frustration

Frustration arises when a person is continually thwarted in his attempts to reach a goal. The goal of survival is to stay alive until you can reach help or until help can reach you. To achieve this goal, the soldier must complete some tasks with minimal resources. It is inevitable, in trying to do these tasks, that something will go wrong; that something will happen beyond the soldier's control; and that with one's life at stake, every mistake is magnified in terms of its importance. Thus, sooner or later, soldiers will have to cope with frustration when a few of their plans run into trouble. One outgrowth of this frustration is anger. There are many events in a survival situation that can frustrate or anger a soldier. Getting lost, damaged or forgotten equipment, the weather, inhospitable terrain, enemy patrols, and physical limitations are just a few sources of frustration and anger. Frustration and anger encourage impulsive reactions, irrational behavior, poorly thought-out decisions, and, in some instances, an "I quit" attitude (people sometimes avoid doing something they can't master). If the soldier can harness and properly channel the emotional intensity associated with anger and frustration, he can productively act as he answers the challenges of survival. If the soldier does not properly focus his angry feelings, he can waste much energy in activities that do little to further either his chances of survival or the chances of those around him.


It would be a rare person indeed who would not get sad, at least momentarily, when faced with the privations of survival. As this sadness deepens, we label the feeling "depression." Depression is closely linked with frustration and anger. The frustrated person becomes more and more angry as he fails to reach his goals. If the anger does not help the person to succeed, then the frustration level goes even higher. A destructive cycle between anger and frustration continues until the person becomes worn down-physically, emotionally, and mentally. When a person reaches this point, he starts to give up, and his focus shifts from "What can I do" to "There is nothing I can do." Depression is an expression of this hopeless, helpless feeling. There is nothing wrong with being sad as you temporarily think about your loved ones and remember what life is like back in "civilization" or "the world." Such thoughts, in fact, can give you the desire to try harder and live one more day. On the other hand, if you allow yours elf to sink into a depressed state, then it can sap all your energy and, more important, your will to survive. It is imperative that each soldier resist succumbing to depression.

Loneliness and Boredom

Man is a social animal. This means we, as human beings, enjoy the company of others. Very few people want to be alone all the time! As you are aware, there is a distinct chance of isolation in a survival setting. This is not bad. Loneliness and boredom can bring to the surface qualities you thought only others had. The extent of your imagination and creativity may surprise you. When required to do so, you may discover some hidden talents and abilities. Most of all, you may tap into a reservoir of inner strength and fortitude you never knew you had. Conversely, loneliness and boredom can be another source of depression. As a soldier surviving alone, or with others, you must find ways to keep your mind productively occupied. Additionally, you must develop a degree of self-sufficiency. You must have faith in your capability to "go it alone."


The circumstances leading to your being in a survival setting are sometimes dramatic and tragic. It may be the result of an accident or military mission where there was a loss of life. Perhaps you were the only, or one of a few, survivors. While naturally relieved to be alive, you simultaneously may be mourning the deaths of others who were less fortunate. It is not uncommon for survivors to feel guilty about being spared from death while others were not. This feeling, when used in a positive way, has encouraged people to try harder to survive with the belief they were allowed to live for some greater purpose in life. Sometimes, survivors tried to stay alive so that they could carry on the work of those killed. Whatever reason you give yourself, do not let guilt feelings prevent you from living. The living who abandon their chance to survive accomplish nothing. Such an act would be the greatest tragedy.


Fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, guilt, depression, and loneliness are all possible reactions to the many stresses common to survival. These reactions, when controlled in a healthy way, help to increase a soldier's likelihood of surviving. They prompt the soldier to pay more attention in training, to fight back when scared, to take actions that ensure sustenance and security, to keep faith with his fellow soldiers, and to strive against large odds.

Remember, survival is natural to everyone; being unexpectedly thrust into the life and death struggle of survival is not. Don't be afraid of your "natural reactions to this unnatural situation."

The challenge of survival has produced countless examples of heroism, courage, and self-sacrifice. These are the qualities it can bring out in you if you have prepared yourself. Below are a few tips to help prepare yourself psychologically for survival.

Know Yourself

Through training, family, and friends take the time to discover who you are on the inside. Strengthen your stronger qualities and develop the areas that you know are necessary to survive.

Anticipate Fears

Don't pretend that you will have no fears. Begin thinking about what would frighten you the most if forced to survive alone. Train in those areas of concern to you. The goal is not to eliminate the fear, but to build confidence in your ability to function despite your fears.

Be Realistic

Don't be afraid to make an honest appraisal of situations. See circumstances as they are, not as you want them to be. Keep your hopes and expectations within the estimate of the situation. When you go into a survival setting with unrealistic expectations, you may be laying the groundwork for bitter disappointment. Follow the adage, "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst." It is much easier to adjust to pleasant surprises about one's unexpected good fortunes than to be upset by one's unexpected harsh circumstances.

Adopt a Positive Attitude

Learn to see the potential good in everything. Looking for the good not only boosts morale, it also is excellent for exercising your imagination and creativity.

Remind Yourself What Is at Stake

Remember, failure to prepare yourself psychologically to cope with survival leads to reactions such as depression, carelessness, inattention, loss of confidence, poor decision-making, and giving up before the body gives in. At stake is your life and the lives of others who are depending on you to do your share.


Through military training and life experiences, begin today to prepare yourself to cope with the rigors of survival. Demonstrating your skills in training will give you the confidence to call upon them should the need arise. Remember, the more realistic the training, the less overwhelming an actual survival setting will be.

Learn Stress Management Techniques

People under stress have a potential to panic if they are not well-trained and not prepared psychologically to face whatever the circumstances may be. Learning stress management techniques can enhance significantly your capability to remain calm and focused as you work to keep yourself and others alive. A few good techniques to develop include relaxation skills, time management skills, assertiveness skills, and cognitive restructuring skills (the ability to control how you view a situation).

Remember, "the will to survive" can also be considered to be "the refusal to give up."

Excerpt from the US Army Survival Manual FM 21-76

Saturday, January 26, 2008

S-U-R-V-I-V-A-L Actions

The letters in this word can help guide you in your actions in any survival situation. Whenever faced with a survival situation, remember the word SURVIVAL.

S -Size Up the Situation

If you are in a combat situation, find a place where you can conceal yourself from the enemy. Remember, security takes priority. Use your senses of hearing, smell, and sight to get a feel for the battlefield. What is the enemy doing? Advancing? Holding in place? Retreating? You will have to consider what is developing on the battlefield when you make your survival plan.

Size Up Your Surroundings
Determine the pattern of the area. Get a feel for what is going on around you. Every environment, whether forest, jungle, or desert, has a rhythm or pattern. This rhythm or pattern includes animal and bird noises and movements and insect sounds. It may also include enemy traffic and civilian movements.
Size Up Your Physical Condition
The pressure of the battle you were in or the trauma of being in a survival situation may have caused you to overlook wounds you received. Check your wounds and give yourself first aid. Take care to prevent further bodily harm. For instance, in any climate, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. If you are in a cold or wet climate, put on additional clothing to prevent hypothermia.
Size Up Your Equipment
Perhaps in the heat of battle, you lost or damaged some of your equipment. Check to see what equipment you have and what condition it is in.
Now that you have sized up your situation, surroundings, physical condition, and equipment, you are ready to make your survival plan. In doing so, keep in mind your basic physical needs--water, food, and shelter.

U -Use All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste

You may make a wrong move when you react quickly without thinking or planning. That move may result in your capture or death. Don't move just for the sake of taking action. Consider all aspects of your situation (size up your situation) before you make a decision and a move. If you act in haste, you may forget or lose some of your equipment. In your haste you may also become disoriented so that you don't know which way to go. Plan your moves. Be ready to move out quickly without endangering yourself if the enemy is near you. Use all your senses to evaluate the situation. Note sounds and smells. Be sensitive to temperature changes. Be observant.

R -Remember Where You Are

Spot your location on your map and relate it to the surrounding terrain. This is a basic principle that you must always follow. If there are other persons with you, make sure they also know their location. Always know who in your group, vehicle, or aircraft has a map and compass. If that person is killed, you will have to get the map and compass from him. Pay close attention to where you are and to where you are going. Do not rely on others in the group to keep track of the route. Constantly orient yourself. Always try to determine, as a minimum, how your location relates to--
The location of enemy units and controlled areas.
The location of friendly units and controlled areas.
The location of local water sources (especially important in the desert).
Areas that will provide good cover and concealment.
This information will allow you to make intelligent decisions when you are in a survival and evasion situation.

V -Vanquish Fear and Panic

The greatest enemies in a combat survival and evasion situation are fear and panic. If uncontrolled, they can destroy your ability to make an intelligent decision. They may cause you to react to your feelings and imagination rather than to your situation. They can drain your energy and thereby cause other negative emotions. Previous survival and evasion training and self-confidence will enable you to vanquish fear and panic.

I -Improvise

In the United States, we have items available for all our needs. Many of these items are cheap to replace when damaged. Our easy come, easy go, easy-to-replace culture makes it unnecessary for us to improvise. This inexperience in improvisation can be an enemy in a survival situation. Learn to improvise. Take a tool designed for a specific purpose and see how many other uses you can make of it.
Learn to use natural objects around you for different needs. An example is using a rock for a hammer. No matter how complete a survival kit you have with you, it will run out or wear out after a while. Your imagination must take over when your kit wears out.

V -Value Living

All of us were born kicking and fighting to live, but we have become used to the soft life. We have become creatures of comfort. We dislike inconveniences and discomforts. What happens when we are faced with a survival situation with its stresses, inconveniences, and discomforts? This is when the will to live- placing a high value on living-is vital. The experience and knowledge you have gained through life and your Army training will have a bearing on your will to live. Stubbornness, a refusal to give in to problems and obstacles that face you, will give you the mental and physical strength to endure.

A -Act Like the Natives

The natives and animals of a region have adapted to their environment. To get a feel of the area, watch how the people go about their daily routine. When and what do they eat? When, where, and how do they get their food? When and where do they go for water? What time do they usually go to bed and get up? These actions are important to you when you are trying to avoid capture.
Animal life in the area can also give you clues on how to survive. Animals also require food, water, and shelter. By watching them, you can find sources of water and food.
Animals cannot serve as an absolute guide to what you can eat and drink. Many animals eat plants that are toxic to humans.
Keep in mind that the reaction of animals can reveal your presence to the enemy.
If in a friendly area, one way you can gain rapport with the natives is to show interest in their tools and how they get food and water. By studying the people, you learn to respect them, you often make valuable friends, and, most important, you learn how to adapt to their environment and increase your chances of survival.

L -Live by Your Wits, But for Now, Learn Basic Skills

Without training in basic skills for surviving and evading on the battlefield, your chances of living through a combat survival and evasion situation are slight.
Learn these basic skills now--not when you are headed for or are in the battle. How you decide to equip yourself before deployment will impact on whether or not you survive. You need to know about the environment to which you are going, and you must practice basic skills geared to that environment. For instance, if you are going to a desert, you need to know how to get water in the desert.
Practice basic survival skills during all training programs and exercises. Survival training reduces fear of the unknown and gives you self-confidence. It teaches you to live by your wits.

Survival Plan

Develop a survival plan that lets you beat the enemies of survival. This survival plan must include food, water, shelter, fire, first aid, and signals placed in order of importance.

For example, in a cold environment, you would need a fire to get warm; a shelter to protect you from the cold, wind, and rain or snow; traps or snares to get food; a means to signal friendly aircraft; and first aid to maintain health. If injured, first aid has top priority no matter what climate you are in.

Excerpt from the US Army Survival Manual FM 21-76

Thursday, January 24, 2008

DIY Cardiac Bypass Surgery

When cholesterol-clogged plaque narrows an artery that feeds the heart, the body responds by trying to bulk up tiny blood vessels in the heart. As these so-called collateral vessels grow more muscular and interconnected, they begin to reroute some of the blood flow around the blockage. Scientists have been trying for years to nudge collateral blood vessels to develop and prosper, but without great success. However, you can do it at home without anything more high-tech than a comfortable pair of shoes, reports the Harvard Heart Letter in its January 2008 issue.

Growing new collateral blood vessels can ease chest pain (angina), limit heart attack damage, improve survival, and perhaps even offer extra time for emergency therapy in the case of a heart attack. And exercise can boost these blood vessels. Exercise dramatically increases blood flow through the coronary arteries. The inner lining of the arteries responds to this "stress" much as it does to the stress of atherosclerosis, by stimulating collateral blood vessels to elongate, widen, and form new connections.

The Heart Letter notes that a little bit of exercise won't do the trick. You need to push your heart. If you aren't used to exercising, that may mean brisk walking. Any activity that gets your heart beating faster will do as long as you keep it up for 20 to 30 minutes at a time and do it several times a week.

Exercise is a great way to prevent heart disease, and a host of studies show that it can help some people with narrowed coronary arteries safely avoid bypass surgery or angioplasty.

Harvard Heart Letter, Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School

Asteroid to Make Rare Close Flyby of Earth January 29, 2008

Scientists are monitoring the orbit of asteroid 2007 TU24. The asteroid, believed to be between 150 meters (500 feet) and 610 meters (2,000 feet) in size, is expected to fly past Earth on Jan. 29, with its closest distance being about 537,500 kilometers (334,000 miles) at 12:33 a.m. Pacific time (3:33 a.m. Eastern time). It should be observable that night by amateur astronomers with modest-sized telescopes.

Asteroid 2007 TU24 was discovered by the NASA-sponsored Catalina Sky Survey on Oct. 11, 2007. Scientists at NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have determined that there is no possibility of an impact with Earth in the foreseeable future.

"This will be the closest approach by a known asteroid of this size or larger until 2027," said Don Yeomans, manager of the Near Earth Object Program Office at JPL. "As its closest approach is about one-and-a-half times the distance of Earth to the moon, there is no reason for concern. On the contrary, Mother Nature is providing us an excellent opportunity to perform scientific observations."

Asteroid 2007 TU24 will reach an approximate apparent magnitude 10.3 on Jan. 29-30 before quickly becoming fainter as it moves farther from Earth. On that night, the asteroid will be observable in dark and clear skies through amateur telescopes with apertures of at least 7.6 centimeters (3 inches). An object with a magnitude of 10.3 is about 50 times fainter than an object just visible to the naked eye in a clear, dark sky.

NASA detects and tracks asteroids and comets passing close to Earth. The Near Earth Object Observation Program, commonly called "Spaceguard," discovers, characterizes and computes trajectories for these objects to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet.

For more information, visit

Orbit Diagram

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Survival: Fox & Hounds

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Woodcraft and Camping

The famous North American outdoor book by author George W. Sears, writing as Nessmuk.

Chapters include:

1. Overwork and recreation - outing and outers - how to do it and why they miss it

2. Knapsack, hatchet, knives, tinware, fishing tackle, ditty-bag, rods

3. Getting lost - camping out - roughing it or smoothing it - insects - camps, and how to make them

4. Camp fires and their importance - the wasteful wrong way they are usually made, and the right way to make them

5. Fishing, with and without flies - some tackle and lures - discussive remarks on the gentle art - the headlight - frogging

6. Camp cookery - how it is usually done, with a few simple hints on plain cooking - cooking fire and out-door range

7. More hints on cooking, with some simple recipes - bread, potatoes, soups, stews, beans

8. A ten days' trip in the wilderness - going it alone

9. The light canoe and double blade - various canoes for various canoeists - reasons for preferring the clinker-built cedar

10. Odds and ends - where to go for an outing - why a clinker? - boughs and browse

PDF version, 66 pages, 1.5Mb (Download)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

FM 21-76 US Army Survival Manual

No library (or go bag) should be without this book.

Chapters include: survival planning, survival medicine, shelters, water procurement, firecraft, food procurement, survival use of plants, poisonous plants, dangerous animals, field-expedient weapons, tools and equipment, desert survival, tropical survival, cold weather survival, sea survival, expedient water crossings, field-expedient direction finding, signaling techniques, survival movement in hostile areas, camouflage, contact with people, and survival in man-made hazards.

Abridged by removing the Appendixes. Approx. 2.5 Mb.

US Army Survival Manual FM 21-76 (PDF Download)

Adobe Reader

US Army Survival Manual FM 21-76 (Word Download)

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Barbells Before Bikes: Stop Doing Cardio Before You Weight Train

It kills me every time I see it. One person after another shows up at the gym, raring to go. They check in at the front desk, put their gear away and make a beeline for the cardio equipment. Somewhere between 20 and 60 minutes later they drag themselves off that treadmill and on to the gym floor to start the weight training portion of their session. This may be the most common training mistake I have seen in roughly 15 years of training in gyms from New York to California. There are a number of reasons why this training sequence can not only minimize your results but also holds the potential for injury.

Let's make a few things clear before we get started. If you want to warm up by doing 5 minutes of cardio before you hit the weights, power to you. If it makes you feel better prepared to train hard and get the most out of your weight training, great. In colder climates, especially with the fall and winter seasons upon us, this may even be advisable. But remember, we're talking about a cardio warm-up before training, not a cardio session aimed at burning fat. That will come after you train, not before, if you are sequencing the workout properly.

Nutritional Reasons

Ever heard that you will burn more fat if you do cardio on an empty stomach? Wrong. You will burn more fat if you are depleted of carbohydrates when you do cardio. Protein and dietary fats don't affect the equation. If you wanted to, and it didn't bother your stomach, you could drink a high protein/very low carb protein drink or eat a chicken breast or a piece of lean red meat minutes before you started cardio and you'd still burn the same amount of fat. But, if you have a piece of fruit or a cup of rice before that same session, you won't.

When you eat carbohydrates, the body stores them in the form of glycogen in your liver. Then, as you need to use them for energy, the glycogen stores are used until they are depleted. The problem is that the body will not burn fat until the glycogen stores are depleted. In other words, until you burn all your stored carbs, the body will not turn to your fat stores for energy and no fat will be burned. Now for the really bad news. Studies have indicated that it can take as much as 29 minutes of cardiovascular activity to deplete your glycogen stores. So, when you did that 30 minute cardio session after eating carbs sometime within several hours of beginning the session, you burned fat for a whopping minute--ONE MINUTE.

Does that mean that the session was a total waste of time? No. There are two benefits to cardiovascular work. In addition to burning fat, you elevate your metabolism every time you do cardio, which enhances your body's ability to metabolize food and burn fat for several hours after the session. You'll get that benefit regardless of whether your glycogen stores are full or depleted. But, if you are going to spend the time doing cardio in the first place, why settle for only half the benefit? You're going to work just as hard and spend just as much time either way.

While glycogen (carbs) will deprive you of the full benefit of your cardio, it has the opposite effect on working with the weights. Remember that the benefits to weight training are building/maintaining lean muscle tissue and elevated metabolism. This is anaerobic activity, not aerobic activity like cardio. Therefore, you don't weight train to burn bodyfat. Rather, you do it to build muscle.

When you weight train (anaerobic activity), the body's preferred energy source that enables you to train hard and be and stay strong for the workout is--you guessed it--carbohydrate. So, if you train before you do cardio, the glycogen necessary for productive workouts is both available and used. As you train the glycogen is used for energy and depleted. Ah! Depleted glycogen. Exactly where you want to be when you start cardio (aerobic activity) so that you can BURN FAT!

Practical Reasons

In addition to the nutritional reasons we've covered, there are other practical considerations that dictate doing your weight training before your cardio. Have you heard about or witnessed many people injuring themselves walking on a treadmill or stairmaster or riding a bike? Me neither. In the grand scheme of things, cardio may be tedious at times, but the risk of injury is pretty slim. Now, how many times have you seen or heard someone talk about pulling this or that or experiencing some discomfort because of something they did while weight training? Hopefully not too often, but a helluva lot more than with cardio. So, you'd have to agree that between the two, there is a greater risk of injury with weight training than there is with cardio. Given that fact, doesn't it make the most sense to weight train when you are in your freshest, strongest condition, both physically and mentally? Obviously, you are going to be in that peak condition when you get to the gym, not after you've done cardio for a half-hour or more at a high enough heart rate to burn fat.

The Bottom Line

Weight train first, when you have everything in your favor. You'll be mentally and physically fresher and stronger. You'll be in the ideal physiological environment as a result of your nutrition and appropriate use of your glycogen stores for the activities you're engaging in and the respective benefits they offer. Barbells don't just come before bikes in the dictionary. For the MAXIMUM RESULT, they should be sequenced that way in the gym too.

by Larry Pepe

Friday, January 18, 2008

100 Items to Disappear First

Having lived through the natural disaster of several hurricanes, I've learned to plan for the best and prepare for the worst.

The following list of items to disappear first is not only applicable to war-time situations. Think what might happen in your neighborhood if everyone was cut off from these items for an extended period of time:

1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. of thieves; maintenance etc.)
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 - 12 months to become dried, for home uses.
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice - Beans - Wheat
11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled etc.,)
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
13. Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.) Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY - note - food grade if for drinking.
16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur.
17. Survival Guide Book.
18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)
19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
21. Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
22. Vitamins
23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item)
24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products.
25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil)
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and Barter Item)
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
29. Garbage Bags (Impossible To Have Too Many).
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
31. Milk - Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4 months)
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
34. Coleman's Pump Repair Kit
35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)
37. First aid kits
38. Batteries (all furthest-out for Expiration Dates)
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches. ("Strike Anywhere" preferred.) Boxed, wooden matches will go first
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators
44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime.)
45. Workboots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
46. Flashlights/LIGHTSTICKS & torches, "No. 76 Dietz" Lanterns
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experience; Historic Times)
48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting - if with wheels)
49. Men's Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc
50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)
51. Fishing supplies/tools
52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
53. Duct Tape
54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
55. Candles
56. Laundry Detergent (liquid)
57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
58. Garden tools & supplies
59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.
61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
62. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)
63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
64. Bicycles...Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc
65. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats
66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
67. Board Games, Cards, Dice
68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & cockroach magnets
70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks)
71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap (saves a lot of water)
72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)
74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
75. Soysauce, vinegar, bullions/gravy/soupbase
76. Reading glasses
77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
78. "Survival-in-a-Can"
79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
80. Boy Scout Handbook, / also Leaders Catalog
81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)
82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
85. Lumber (all types)
86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)
87. Cots & Inflatable mattress's
88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
89. Lantern Hangers
90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws, nuts & bolts
91. Teas
92. Coffee
93. Cigarettes
94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc,)
95. Paraffin wax
96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
97. Chewing gum/candies
98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs
100. Goats/chickens

Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev taken during the war in 1992 in Sarajevo in the partially destroyed National Library. The cello player is local musician Vedran Smailovic, who often came to play for free at different funerals during the siege despite the fact that funerals were often targetted by Serb forces.

Here are some additional preparedness tips from a Sarajevo war survivor who experienced the death of parents and friends, hunger and malnutrition, endless freezing cold, fear, and sniper attacks:

1. Stockpiling helps, but you never no how long trouble will last, so locate near renewable food sources.

2. Living near a well with a manual pump is like being in Eden.

3. After awhile, even gold can lose its luster. But there is no luxury in war quite like toilet paper. Its surplus value is greater than gold's.

4. If you had to go without one utility, lose electricity - it's the easiest to do without,

5. Canned foods are awesome, especially if their contents are tasty without heating. One of the best things to stockpile is canned gravy - it makes a lot of the dry appetizing things you find to eat in war somewhat edible. Only needs enough heat to "warm", not to cook. It's cheap too, especially if you buy it in bulk.

6. Bring some books - escapist ones like romance or mysteries become more valuable as the war continues. Sure, it's great to have a lot of survival guides, but you'll figure most of that out on your own anyway - trust me, you'll have a lot of time on your hands.

7. The feeling that you're human can fade pretty fast. I can't tell you how many people I knew who would have traded a much needed meal for just a little bit of toothpaste, rouge, soap or cologne. Not much point in fighting if you have to lose your humanity. These things are morale-builders like nothing else.

8. Slow burning candles and matches, matches, matches.