6/04/2010

Effects Of Starvation

In the post apocalypse world the most important things are the things that we take the most for granted today, food and water. With the collapse of agriculture and the distribution networks that deliver those supplies many of the survivors will quickly face starvation and malnutrition. Most of the human population lives in urban centers and depend on a few small stores or bulk foods stores for food. The majority of those in urban areas have no clue in regards to even basic gardening or other means of gathering food such as hunting or fishing.


Even without a collapse of civilization more then one billion people around the world are currently starving (Approximately one person in every six) and that’s with an operating though grossly inefficient agriculture and distribution network.

The first signs of starvation is the loss of fat and muscle mass, which you’re body, will begin to break down for energy it needs to maintain vital body functions such as the nervous system and heart. The average male for example burns approximately 2500 calories a day (Depending on physical health and activity level) In a post apocalyptic world it’s easy to imagine the survivors burning well above that due to lack of transportation and having to rely on physical labour rather then using machines to do the heavy work. This process of the body breaking down body mass for energy is called Catabolises. On top of that this condition can also start to cause diarrhea, skin rashes, edema, and even heart failure. Starving individuals will also become irritable and lethargic from a lack of energy.

Atrophy is the next sign of starvation. This is where the starving individual starts to loose the perception of feeling hungry or thirsty because their senses are much weaker and the brain is not as able to function properly. At this stage all body movements become painful as the remaining muscles become extremely weak. The individual’s immune system will start to break down meaning that diseases that the body could normally fight off will start to appear. Fungi and other bacteria can also form on the individual’s body such as under the oesophagus making swallowing extremely painful. In women you can also expect irregular menstruation cycles.

Without food this condition can last for weeks before the individual dies. In the case of those in prisoner or war camps and concentration camps in World War 2 this can take years if given good that is low in nutritional value.

5/16/2010

All Alone

In many of my past posts I talked about the importance of being in a group, not just for the shared security and increased firepower if needed, but for basic human companionship that we all need. Humans after all are social creatures, that’s what helped make us the dominate species, and what has built all our civilizations including the present one. We thrive in groups, and constantly long to be part of new and better ones, which explains the current popularity of social networking sites.
But what happens after the apocalypse and you’re alone, either everyone around you is dead, or far away and you have to be by yourself for several weeks or longer?

First you need to identify what type of person you are, and for that most of us fall into two groups extroverted or introverted. Extroverted are individuals who get their energy from social interaction. They like to be out in the crowd and the center of attention. Introverted are the opposite they don’t require as much social interaction and draw from themselves rather then groups, this isn’t to say that introverts don’t need social interaction they just find it overwhelming at times. Of the two groups introverts have a distinct advantage.

So how do you cope when you have to be alone for an extremely long time? For this there are a few things you can do to keep yourself going. First keep busy, have things you need to do and set up a routine. Think of movies such as I Am Legend, or castaway where the main characters have to deal with extended isolation for years. One of the ways they copped was to have a routine and projects to keep their minds busy, remember down time leads to thinking, thinking leads to your thoughts wandering usually to things you miss, which leads to depression, which leads to suicide.

Another thing that will help you when dealing with isolation is exercise. The better shape you’re in the more positive you’re attitude will be. This is because when you’re lifting weights or running for example the body is realising chemicals called endorphins which make you feel better, kind of like a natural high if you will. On top of that the healthier you are the clearer and more positive you’re mind will think. And if anything else it gives you a tool to vent you’re frustrations out on but in a healthy way.

Talk to yourself, I know this sounds kind of odd, and others would find this crazy if you did this in public, but when you’re alone the sound of your own voice can help ease the tension of isolation. If anything else this will break up the quiet that you might experience. Remember there won’t be any background noise from cars, pedestrians, or anything else you can expect to hear when living in an urban area.

Find a pet, if you are near a pet store or you find a stray one take in a dog or dog’s or another domesticated animal. Dogs are preferred because of their pack mentality and will be more keen to bond with you. This is in turn will give you a loyal companion; it also gives you something to talk to.

These are just a few ideas to help deal with extreme isolation. If the apocalypse comes and you find yourself alone, you need to be mentally prepared before hand as this will be one of the hardest things you may have to deal with.

5/09/2010

Fallout New Vegas Update

If you’re a fan of the Fallout games like I am then you’re eagerly waiting for the release Of Fallout New Vegas coming out this fall. Awhile ago I had a post that showed the new trailer for the game, and today I found some new videos that give a sneak peak into some of what you can expect to see in the new game. Hope you enjoy, and I’ll keep updating as new information comes in.



5/03/2010

How To Throw A Punch

In the post apocalypse defending yourself is paramount to you're survival. Ideally you would do this with a firearm or some form of melee weapon. Chances are though that you will be caught without a weapon and will have to resort to hand to hand combat. However most people don't know how to do this properly. In this post I'll show you the basics of how to throw a punch. However it's important to remember that this is to be used ONLY AS SELF DEFENCE and not to be used to attack or hurt others.



Before you can learn to punch you have to understand how you're hand works. For a punch you're striking surface will be you're two knuckles closest to the thumb (trigger and middle finger) If you make a fist you'll notice that these two knuckles form and almost straight line with the bones in you're forearm all the way to the elbow, giving them the support needed for a powerful blow. You're other two knuckles are known as "floaters" as these have no support and can be driven back into you're wrist with enough force.


To do a basic punch you need to first adopt a proper stance. Your feet should be shoulder width apart, any farther apart or closer together and you risk being unstable and easy to take down. Your heal of your front foot (depending on if your right or left handed) should be aligned to your toes on the other foot. Again remember to keep your feet spaced about shoulder width apart to give yourself as solid of stance as possible. Slightly bend your knees to allow your body to be flexible and loose, this will allow you to better withstand blows and keep yourself from being too rigid.


For your arms you’re going to need to have them in a ready position to defend against an attackers blows. To do this have your arms up to protect your sides and face, keep them spaced far enough from your face so that an attacker can't use your own arms against you. Also whichever foot is in front the same arm will be out in front, for example if your right foot is out front your right arm is out front too. This will be your jabbing arm, but I'll get to that a little later in this post.


For your hands there is no set way to have them, obviously you want them to be in position ready to strike your opponent, how you do that is up to you. Some prefer having your hands closed, others open, I prefer having my hands open as this leaves your options open. You might find it better rather then hitting them to grab your attacker and force them to the ground, or strike them in another way other then a punch.


Now it' time to punch, many think that the hitting power from a punch comes from the arms alone, this is partially true. What gives your punch extra power is your core muscles (torso) and triceps. Think of baseball when you draw power from your hips up through your arms and twist the motion you can drive the ball very far and much harder. The same applies when throwing a punch, except you don't want to swing your arms out wide this is what's called a "haymaker" and can leave you very exposed to a counter attack. You want your arms to be as straight and as fast as possible when striking your opponent while drawing power from your core. For your front arm you’re not going to be able to draw as much power due to its position, so with this arm you jab or light punch to keep your opponent on their toes. The same rules apply to jabbing as they would for your main arm. You can also use your jabbing arm to grab an opponent and hold them in place.


This is not something that you can learn in one go, remember that practice makes perfect. Start out slow to get the form down right and practice, practice, practice, until you think you understand how it’s done, then practice some more.

4/27/2010

Trust Issues

First I have to give kudos to Kelly over at Psycho Carnival ( It's in my link section to the right ) go check it out it's very twisted and funny as hell.



In our present world were allowed the luxury of trust. We generally don't feel threatened or need to be on guard when dealing with others in our day to day lives. Fast forward to the post apocalypse and it's a different story, where if you’re not on your guard at all times you could be dead. This becomes even more paramount when you encounter other survivors who appear friendly and even offer to help you. So what should you do in the event you encounter other survivors who appear friendly who might not be.

1.Stay armed

The survivors you encounter might look like normal decent people, they cold even look like your grandparents, regardless always have a weapon on your person and be ready to use it at all times. This weapon you want to keep concealed keeping the upper hand if things get ugly.

2. Sleep with one eye open

If you’re alone and encounter another survivor don't let yourself sleep too soundly as they might use this opportunity to attack. Keep your weapon ready to use in a place where you can grab it quickly such as under your pillow or in your sleeve.

3. Keep them in front not behind

If you’re on the move keep them in front of you as much as possible, especially later on in the day if you’re walking. You will be more tired as the day passes and your guard may begin to lower. If their behind you they might take this as an opportunity to attack you when you least expect it.

4. Don't fall for what they say

Over time you will start to talk to these other survivors, were social creatures after all and communication is a primary part of that. Just because they might be friendly and easy going they could be using that to lure you in. Think of used car salesmen for example, their trained to communicate a certain way to make the potential buyer feel at ease and more comfortable in buying a car. A really good one may even convince you to buy a car you initially didn't want or was more then what you were willing to pay at first. The same applies in the post apocalypse, a really smooth talker can easily wear your guard down. You may start to think their alright and befriend them, and that is when they strike.

5. Go with your gut

If all else fails go with your instincts. Even if they seem okay and are friendly and offer to help you with whatever you need, if your instincts are telling you not to trust them believe your gut. Nine times out of ten your gut won't lie.
Remember the post apocalypse will be a desperate world; be on your toes at all times.

4/22/2010

Searching For Food

You’re supplies are only going to last so long until you need to find food, if you are in an urban environment in the post apocalypse this means one thing, you’re going to have to forage for it. Foraging is a fancy way of saying stealing or looting, but since those original owners will be gone or worse, their supplies are up for grabs. This doesn’t mean however that you can just bash in any door you want and wander around like you own the place. There will be other survivors doing the same thing, some of them may be living in those places you’re considering looting. Here are some guidelines to help you find supplies while staying alive.
1. Observe

Before you go into any location looking for food, take the time to scout it out first. You obviously don’t want to wander into a location that’s already inhabited unless you’re planning on making contact with them. From a safe location and under some cover to avoid detection look for visible signs of human life. These will include but won’t be limited to

- Recently moved items

- cleaned up debris and repairs

- Vehicle traffic

- Sounds (generators, voices, gunshots etc)

2. Stealth And Speed

These are you’re two best friends in the post apocalypse world. With no background noise coming from traffic or construction sound will travel farther, so smashing in the front door will be heard over a greater distance. Keep as concealed as possible, stay along the edges of buildings, and in shadows as much as possible. When it comes time to move do it fast and move from cover to cover staying as low as possible. If you’re cover is separated by some distance zig zag when you run, meaning move to the left and right rapidly. This will make it harder for a shooter to get a fix on you.

3. Entering

Now that you’re beside the building you want to enter you have to figure out how to get inside. Instead of trying to pry open the front door look for an alternative such as going through a window or another available entrance. Remember to treat each location as if it’s being defended, doors and windows may be rigged to traps.

4. Once Inside

Now that you are inside the building or home, the same rules for outside apply indoors, keep a low profile and move as quietly as possible. If you have a flashlight use it sparingly as light will make you visible. One way to help get around that is to have a red lens as this will reduce how far the light travels, but will make red letters invisible. Remember once inside to allow you’re eyes to adjust to the darkness before you start to move, this will take approximately a minute, this will also give you time to listen for movement to indicate if you’ve been detected or not.

5. Be Quick

Don’t screw around once inside move from room to room as quietly and quickly as possible to avoid detection. Be cautious around blind corners and when entering rooms as there could be additional traps or a potential ambush waiting to happen.

6. Signs Of People Means Get Out

Things such as lit candles, fresh food, are just a couple signs of recent human activity. If you see something that looks like people are still there GET OUT ASAP (As fast as possible). The choice is up to you whether or not you keep any items you grabbed or drop them on the spot. Personally I would keep them and get out fast, because if they catch you they will probably treat you the same regardless if you have anything of there’s or not so you might as well take the chance.

4/17/2010

Quest For Fire

Fire, it’s one of the key ingredients for your survival after a disaster or the post apocalypse. The obvious way to start a fire is with matches or a lighter, possibly some gas or another combustible liquid as well. But what happens if you have none of these, how do you get a fire started? Fortunately there are many ways to get a fire started without every striking a match, here are a few that I’ve used in the past that work.


An important note to remember when starting any fire is that no matter what method you choose to use you should have all your fuel ready to go before you try to get a fire going. You might only have one chance so don’t waste it by having to run around looking for fuel. Also you need an escalation in the fuel you use, what this means is that once you have fire start with small fuel such as dry leaves and twigs, then as this burns start adding larger sources of fuel until the fire is hot and large enough to burn regular sized wood.

Another important note is that many of these techniques require something called a “bird’s nest” this is simply a bundle of dry easily burnable fuel such as grass, bits of paper, small twigs, or whatever you can find that you bundle together to resemble a bird’s nest. To keep this material dry you should always pack it in your bug out bag in a plastic bag to keep it separated from your other kit.

1. Magnesium Fire Starter

If you’re using a magnesium fire starter you won’t need to necessarily make a bird’s nest, but there are a couple extra things to consider when using one. First find a flat piece of cardboard, bark, or other easily burnable material, this is what you will use to place your filings on, don‘t just have the filings fall into the dirt because they will get buried in there and become ineffective. Using a saw blade or file not a knife blade (This will quickly dull your knife unless you have no other choice) starts shaving the flat side of the fire starter. Make sure to avoid injury that the saw blade is moving away from your fingers not towards it. Continue this motion until you have a pile of filings a little larger then a quarter (Loonie if you’re Canadian), of course you can also go a little bigger if you feel that isn’t large enough. Remember to keep those filings together, what your essentially doing with them is creating kindling, magnesium burns very hot and fast (About 5000 degrees), and keeping them together will allow them to burn longer.

Now using the flint side of the fire starter scrap, don’t strike the flint. The filings will go up very quickly so remember to have your kindling very close by. Once its lit start adding your kindling, don’t heap it on top all at once but add a piece at a time allowing the fire to start burning each piece. Throwing everything on all at once is a good way to kill your fire before it has a chance to catch.

2. Magnifying Glass

Another way to get a fire going is with a magnifying glass. I recommend using a smaller one as this will take up less space when travelling, and many of the smaller versions come with their own protective cases built in to protect the lens from scratches. To use a magnifying glass to start a fire, first build your bird’s nest using dry grass, paper, whatever you can find. Then placing the bird’s nest on the ground align your magnifying glass to the sun. The glass will concentrate the sun’s rays into a much smaller focal point causing that area to heat up very quickly. Once you see smoke starting gently blow on the bird’s nest until you see fire, then start adding you’re kindling on top.

3. Beer Can

In the post apocalypse world discarded pop or beer cans should be very easy to find. To use this you’re going to need a can, something to polish the bottom of the can with, a small piece of flammable material such as paper or cloth, and a roach clip or small object to hold the paper or cloth such as a small twig. First you need to polish the bottom of the can, it’s important that it’s not scratched as this will act as a mirror to collect the sun’s heat. One way to polish it is to use tooth paste and some toilet paper since neither one is abrasive enough to really scratch up the can. After polishing the can for about 45 minutes to an hour you then want to align the can so that the sun’s rays are running parallel and will allow it to collect heat. To ensure its parallel you want the shadow of the can to be as small as possible, the smaller the more in line to the suns rays it will be.

Once your can is aligned you want to find the focal point, or where the sun’s rays will be most concentrated on the can, you can check this by moving your finger a couple of inches above the can until you find the hottest point. Then take your flammable material (paper, cloth, etc) place it on your twig or small stick and position it at the focal point, remember that you want the twig, roach clip or whatever you decide to use as small as possible to reduce the amount of shadow cast onto the can, obviously the more shadow means the less heat will be collected. If this is done right your flammable object should start to smoke fairly quickly, once it does place it into your bird’s nest (Which you should have made already) and gently blow until it catches fire.

4. Steel wool and a 9 volt battery

One of the easiest ways to start a fire is with a 9 volt battery and steel wool. I’ve used different brands of steel wool such as S.O.S pads, but the generic brand I found works the best because it doesn’t have the added cleaning agent in it. To do this simply take a piece of steel wool and start opening it up, the goal is to turn it into a bowl like shape. Once this is done fill that bowl with easily burnable material such as dry grass, leaves, paper etc. Now taking the 9 volt battery touch the top end of the battery (The end with the positive and negative ends) to the steel wool. Very quickly the wool will catch on fire, allow a couple seconds for the fire to spread and start to burn the dry kindling before you add more, again adding too much will choke the fire causing large amounts of smoke and possibly killing your fire before it starts.

There are lots of ways to get a fire started, these are just a few of them. Like many things in the post apocalypse world you need to think on your feet and use what you have around you and don't be afraid to experiement, you never know what will happen.