Astroid heading this way…let’s name it!



Seriously, not my first reaction, but ok.

NASA revealed it has identified a potentially dangerous near-earth astroid it anticipates could collide with our lovely planet in the year 2182. Even more perplexing, NASA has launched a contest, calling on students under age 18 from around the world to NAME the threatening astroid. Apparently NASA is hoping the contest will engage the next generation of  scientists, inspiring them to pursue space science.

In addition to hosting the contest to name the astroid (currently known as 101955 1999 RQ36) the space agency is hoping to visit it with an unmanned probe that will collect samples of the space rock and return them home. The expedition is scheduled to launch in 2016, and is expected to cost at least $800 million. According to proponents of the expedition, samples brought back by the mission could help scientists unlock some of the mysteries of the solar system’s origin some 4.5 billion years ago, and the organic molecules that may have led to life on Earth. NASA is also planning to launch astronauts to an asteroid by the year 2025.

So there you have it. There’s an astroid heading this way. It could destroy out planet in 170 years. And NASA wants your children to enter a contest to name it. Please, for the love of polar bears, do not let this opportunity go by! Have your children submit a name!

I’m the first admit that this is a little disturbing, but I see this as a publicity opportunity for the prepper movement and encourage you all to draw attention to this potential apocalyptic event, perhaps even noting that this isn’t the only astroid on a near-earth trajectory (more to come on that). This may also be a good way to begin educating your children about what prepping really “means” and the types of events you are preparing for.

Full contest details can be found here.


Top Older Apocalyptic Movies

tank girl


With movies like Seeking a Friend For the End of the World and Zombieland coming onto the scene, I thought it might be prudent to remind ya’ll of some of the greats – the ones we ourselves have drawn inspiration from. Have a read – the films are listed in no particular order – and watch the ones which sound interesting to you. And definitely watch Tank Girl as it is bomb.

1. Tank Girl – It’s 2033 and, ever since a gigantic meteor hit the Earth, the world just hasn’t been the same. The decidedly dull world is under the control of a villain that controls all the planet’s water. All this changes however, when The Rippers (an army of mutant half human half kangaroo soldiers) and Tank Girl begin to upset the balance power.

2. Mad Max – In this bleak dystopian future, a ruthless bikeer gang rules the road, terrorizing everyone who gets in their way. Tables turn, however when the gang attacks Officer Max Rockatansky’s best friend and family sending him on a rage fuelled frenzy that sees him savagely hunting them down one by one.

3. Dawn of the Dead – One George A Romero’s original zombie movies, the film follows a group of survivors fleeing the zombie outbreak who barricade themselves in a mall and their ensuing struggle to build a new life.

4. Planet of the Apes – The original, please. You know the story – three astronauts crash-land on an unknown planet where they are eventually captured by Gorillas on horseback. The trio are taken to Ape City where they discover the apes are in control of the hunted or enslaved humans. It’s not until the end of the movie that we discover our heros actually crash-landed in earth’s future.

5. Waterworld – All the ice caps have melted and Earth has become a seemingly endless ocean, leaving the remnants of the population struggling to survive in a world without land. Our loner hero finds a young woman and a girl in his charge and off they sail, facing pirates and the open seas in search of hope.

6. A Boy & His Dog – In post-nuclear 2024, we follow Vic and his dog as they scavenge the barren wasteland of Earth for food and supplies. They eventually are discovered by a mysterious girl who brings them to an underground city that has flourished away from the radioactive surface. Unfortunately, things in the city are not as wonderful as they seem.

7. The Quiet Earth – Explores how a person can go mad when he realizes he’s the only one left on Earth following a terrible catastrophe.


Post-Apocalypse Pantry: Mouse Edition

Once you’ve established your food supplies and survival kit, the most important thing you can do is to protect it from the elements and Mother Nature’s other surprises. There’s no point in building up the perfect kit to get you through the apocalypse if you risk losing it all in the first bad storm or pest infestation.

Mice are a particularly annoying problem to have to deal with. They can squeeze into the tiniest of spaces and once they’re there, it’s extremely hard to get them to leave.

On top of eating through your well-thought out survival kit, mice can also spread serious diseases such as salmonella and hantavirus. For all of these reasons, your primary strategy should be to keep mice away from your survival site, and food in particular.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Sonic mouse repellents, while quite effective, are unlikely to work in a post-apocalypse situation with limited electricity. The battery operated ones will take up valuable space in your survival kit. A more low-tech option is to get a cat (preferably a good mouser, but the scent of any cat should do a decent job of keeping mice at bay).

Peppermint oil is also a good option – mouse can’t stand the smell of the stuff. Soak some cotton balls in the oil and place it near your food stores and in strategic locations around your survival site. You may end up smelling like a candy cane but it’s a small price to pay for keeping mice away.

The more likely scenario is that a mouse (or five) will cross your path at some point. To prepare for this scenario, it is critical to ensure that all of your gear – food in particular – is well-protected and properly stored. Food should be kept in containers so that mice can’t chew through boxes or other packaging. Plastic is clearly preferable to glass given the weight differential. As discussed in a previous post, coffee cans also make an excellent storage option and they can later be converted into mini stoves if required.

If you are using resealable plastic bags to protect your kit, again food in particular, I highly recommend double-bagging everything. This will ensure that you have a steady supply of plastic baggies for future use, and will significantly reduce the chances of mice smelling your precious food store (they are shockingly good at chewing through a single layer of plastic).

Once you discover that you have mice, thoroughly clean out the contaminated area. This should be done carefully to avoid any potential exposure to hantavirus, which can be spread in mouse urine and droppings. Once you’ve cleaned the area, add some peppermint oil-soaked cotton balls to remove the scent trails and deter the mice from coming back. You should also conduct a through search of the structure for holes, but don’t expect to find them all – mice are able to squeeze through ridiculously tight spaces. As a last resort you may want to invest in mouse/rat poison, although this is not recommended if you expect to have small children or other animals in your survival group.

While it’s not pleasant to think about, prepping for pests will go a long way to improving your survival odds (and it’s a very useful skill for this world as well).


Survivalist Technology Corner: Wearable gadgets

As usual, the high-tech world is attempting to eradicate many of the problems facing modern society and unsurprisingly some of the world’s most innovative minds have come up with some sick gadgets that just may prove useful in the post-world. Be warned, these are all still prototypes, but they certainly address potential concerns we preppers may face when attempting to beat the odds.

Wearable clean air bubble:

air bubble


This “dress” was developed as a personal air service for women to help provide cleaner air to the wearer. The University of Sheffield has been working on similar dresses which contain catalytic converters purifying the air around the wearer. The use-case for such technology is clear – in many apocalyptic situations the post-world air could be so polluted humans would be unable to breath it in. In such cases respirators and even bubble-dresses could be life-savers.

LED solar power necklace:

solar necklace

via Inhabitat

This necklace of light-weight solar panels gathers energy from the sun to light the wearer using incorporated LED lights at night. A few small modifications and this could be a multi-port, multi-cell charging unit for some of the gear mentioned in our first technology corner. Plus it looks pretty and everyone needs some pretty in their life.

Electro-gauntlet thing:

taser sleeve

via Dvice

I am honestly baffled that this even exists. It’s a laser pointer, video camera, and taser all rolled up into one sturdy and rechargeable package. Perfect for scaring competitors out of their whits or protecting yourself non-lethally at close range.

And that’s just a small sampling of what’s going on in the survival tech world right now. Stick around for more!


Katrina redux?

Photo Source: Washington Post

Millions are hunkered down along the Gulf Coast tonight, watching Hurricane Isaac’s progression towards land. With the memory of Katrina still fresh in the minds of many residents, some are wondering if Isaac will wreak similar havoc on the region.

Isaac’s progression towards land has been eerily similar to the path Katrina took. USA News provides an excellent graph illustrating this point. In addition to confounding forecasters, who expected both storms to head up Florida and along the East Coast, they have a remarkably similar progression through the Gulf of Mexico, strengthening to hurricane level over the warm waters. That’s not forgetting that Isaac’s making landfall nearly seven years to the day that Katrina hit.

The numerous similarities are raising questions about whether the damage will be as great as it was in 2005. A key point to note is that Isaac is weaker than Katrina was when she hit the Gulf states. Isaac made landfall earlier tonight as a category 1 storm; Katrina reached category 5 at her peak and made landfall as a category 3. That being said, many underestimated the damage Katrina would cause and a similar pattern could be emerging with Isaac. Let’s not forget a category 1 hurricane is still a very bad storm.

In addition, hurricanes are categorized by wind speed and the major damage from Katrina was the rain and subsequent flooding, not the wind. As a category 1, Isaac is a slower moving storm, which means its dumping rain for longer periods and has the potential to cause severe flooding.

The other key issue to consider is the levee system. Reinforced following their failure in Katrina, the levees are expected to hold through whatever Isaac throws at them. However, the system hasn’t had a significant test since Katrina, so it’s difficult to say how it will perform this time around. The National Weather Service has already noted that some levees in southeast Louisiana could be topped, leading to widespread flooding. Even if the levees hold, the service is also predicting life-threatening floods outside of the hurricane protection system and has warned all residents to head the issued evacuation orders:

“Life threatening flooding possible in areas outside hurricane protection levees…. Areas outside of hurricane protection levees will be severely inundated. People not heeding evacuation orders in single family, one or two story homes could face certain death. Many residences of average construction directly on the coast will be destroyed. Widespread and devastating personal property damage is likely elsewhere. Vehicles left behind will likely be swept away. Numerous roads will be swamped. Some may be washed away by the water…Water levels may exceed 9 feet or more behind over topped levees.” Read the full warning here.

While it’s impossible to predict Isaac’s outcome, I strongly encourage all of you to take this storm seriously. It could very well be a minipocalyse for the region if the worst happens. Head the evacuation orders, use your survival kit, and stay safe out there.


Cell phones to the rescue?

It turns out that one of the most useful survival skills may be hiding in your purse or pocket. Daily Infographic provides  a great guide (below) on how to transform pieces and parts of your smartphone into a survival kit. In addition to starting fires and signaling for help, you can also use it to create a substitute knife or primitive hunting materials. Who wouldn’t want to make an arrowhead out of their circuit board?


Daily Infographic

Signs of the apocalypse: Not technology



So let’s get one thing straight: I’m pretty sure the advances humans are making in technology are a sign of the apocalypse – whether that means that we will cause the world as we know it to implode ala nuclear war, or if it means we’ll land ourselves in horrific dystopia – I do not know. Not everyone agrees however, and it certainly behooves us to take the skeptic’s perspectives into account.

Our dear pals over at Wired featured the most charming story in the magazine’s latest edition proposing that technology, rather than being a harbinger of the apocalypse shall spare us all. The reasoning is this: Over the past several decades – millennia in fact – humans as a species have faced countless challenges and predictions of doom…and we have overcome them all. So who’s to say we won’t continue to defy all odds? As technology continues to advance we continue to overcome.

The article cites the below events as the basis for it’s argument:

“The past half century has brought us warnings of population explosions, global famines, plagues, water wars, oil exhaustion, mineral shortages, falling sperm counts, thinning ozone, acidifying rain, nuclear winters, Y2K bugs, mad cow epidemics, killer bees, sex-change fish, cell-phone-induced brain-cancer epidemics, and climate catastrophes. So far all of these specters have turned out to be exaggerated. True, we have encountered obstacles, public-health emergencies, and even mass tragedies. But the promised Armageddons—the thresholds that cannot be uncrossed, the tipping points that cannot be untipped, the existential threats to Life as We Know It—have consistently failed to materialize.”

While some, including the writer himself, look on this as a fairly sound argument I question the author’s inherent assumptions. First, he argues that, because something has not happened to humans it is impossible. I stress the word ‘humans’ here because mass extinction has occurred before – dinosaures and the dodo bird, for instances. While it’s certainly true that dodo bird intelligence is not analogous for human intelligence or the capacity for innovation we – knowing that we do not know everything and that there is room for improvement – cannot possibly know there will never been an event our intelligence is unable to overcome.

Second, the reasoning in the Wired argument is circular, meaning it assumes what it sets to prove. Humans will be alive tomorrow because they are today and they have been alive in the past. This is not an argument, it’s a prediction. Quite similarly, as preppers we predict that the world may end in our lifetimes however, this prediction is made in the face of imperfect information rather than assuming, by analogy, that things will continue on as they always have. Dare I say that preppers may be the more logical party? Perhaps.

That aside, the Wired article raises and interesting point and I encourage you all to read it. Human beings are innovative, we have overcome everything ranging from the inability to hall weight long distances (animal domestication and the wheel) to public health (sewers) to long distance, real-time, non-verbal, indirect, interpersonal communications (blogs). Humans have done some truly amazing things – I just worry the next amazing thing will be the first foot into a dystopian society I’d rather not be a part of (who’s to say that just because humans continue to exist means we all want to be part of humanity?) or that it will be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s (read: mother earth’s) back.