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Posts Tagged ‘survival

Amazing survival two days trapped under a capsized ship

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A Nigerian man has survived for two-and-a-half days trapped 30 meters deep in freezing seawater.

Harrison Okene, 29, was on board the tug boat Jascon-4 when it capsized in heavy swells…It sank to the seabed, upside down, but Mr Harrison was trapped in an air pocket and able to breathe.

Of the other 12 people on board, 10 bodies have already been found and Mr Harrison is assumed to be the only survivor.

Mr Harrison told Reuters journalist Joe Brock that he could hear fish eating the dead bodies of his fellow crew members.

The Jascon-4 capsized on 26 May, about 32km off the coast of Nigeria, while it was stabilising an oil tanker at a Chevron platform…Mr Harrison was working there as a cook, according to the ship’s owners, West African Ventures.

Mr Harrison told Reuters he was in the toilet when he realised that the boat was beginning to turn over, and as the vessel sank, he managed to find his way to an area with an air pocket.

“I was there in the water in total darkness just thinking it’s the end. I kept thinking the water was going to fill up the room but it did not,” he said…”I was so hungry but mostly so, so thirsty. The salt water took the skin off my tongue.”

“I could perceive the dead bodies of my crew were nearby. I could smell them. The fish came in and began eating the bodies. I could hear the sound.”

But after 60 hours, Mr Harrison heard the sound of knocking.

A team from the DCN global diving company had come to investigate – sent by Chevron and West African Ventures…”We expected it to be a body recovery job,” DCN spokesperson Jed Chamberlain told the BBC’s Impact programme.

Mr Harrison “actually grabbed the second diver who went past him,” Mr Chamberlain said, adding that the diver concerned got quite a fright…”This changed the whole nature of the operation to a rescue operation…”

Having been at such depth for so many hours, he needed time in a decompression chamber to normalise his body pressure.

Christine Cridge, a medical director at the Diving Diseases Research Centre (DDRC), advised the rescue team during this process…

“After a certain amount of time at pressure, nitrogen will dissolve into the tissues. If he’d ascended directly from 30m to the sea surface….. it’s likely he’d have had a cardiac arrest, or at best, serious neurological issues…

Mr. Harrison will have nightmares for quite a while. His good fortune still ain’t quite enough to counter everything he survived.

Come to think of it, that diver who was grabbed by Mr. Harrison probably won’t forget it either. :)

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Written by Ed Campbell

June 14, 2013 at 8:00 am

Grassland diversity brings resilience to drought, climate change

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Click photo to enlarge – look at the real diversity within this piece of prairie

For much of the year drought has been plaguing American grasslands. But a recent study found that grasses do not appear to be losing the turf war against climate when it comes to surviving with little precipitation.

The Kansas State University-led study looked at the drought tolerance of 426 species of grass from around the world. The goal was to better understand how grasslands in different parts of the world may respond to the changes in frequency and severity of drought in the future.

Grasslands have several important ecological functions, according to Joseph Craine…the study’s lead author. Grasslands convert and store carbon dioxide, are a food source for grazing animals like cattle and bison, and help cool the surrounding atmosphere.

“The idea is that if you maintain a diverse grassland, you’ll have a large number of drought-tolerant species ready to take over critical functions if there is a change in climate or an extended period of drought, like what we’ve had this year,” Craine said. “Yet, we’ve never known which grasslands have drought-tolerant species in them…”

…Grasses were grown on campus in a walk-in growth chamber with high intensity lighting that simulated sunny weather. After six weeks, researchers stopped watering the grass samples and observed at what point each grass stopped being able to take up water.

“In the end they all succumbed to drought,” Craine said. “But that was our goal: to stress them all enough to know at what point they give in. What we saw was that some of grass species were about as tough as lettuce, meaning that after a day or two without water they would start to wilt and curl up. Others, however, were able to go for a week or two without water…”

“If we still have grasslands that are diverse, the grasslands are going to continue to function relatively well and not change too much,” Craine said. “But when we replace our prairies with ones that just have a few species in it, then it’s less likely that grasslands will be able to function normally in the future. That affects the animals and other things that depend on grasslands, making it more likely that the whole ecosystem collapses.”

Consistent with most ecologies. Natural or human-altered, monocultures are less likely to survive major changes in climate or the ravages of disease. The best farmers figured this out long ago – in my mind.

Written by Ed Campbell

August 9, 2012 at 2:00 am

Keep Calm and Carry On

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This video is about the tale of one of the best remembered slogans of the war. To many, “the war” means only one war. World War 2.

Click on this link and it will take you to a newly released series of posters from the war. Some of us remember it all. Including those who didn’t come back – and some of our closest friends and relatives who did return, grievously wounded in the war against fascism.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Written by Ed Campbell

June 25, 2012 at 2:00 am

Philippine runners survive zombie horde out to eat their brains

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Natural and man-made obstacles studded the course of a Philippine race, but the real danger to the thousands of runners came from the hordes of “zombies”. About five thousand people dashed along the five km course of the survival-themed race in Laguna Province, about 38 km south of Manila, dodging an assortment of the walking undead in the contest based on a popular U.S. race.

Two hundred actors dressed as post-apocalyptic zombies hid behind trees, bushes and rocky uphill climbs along the five km course to surprise the unsuspecting runners and symbolically feast on their brains by stealing flags attached to the runners’ waists.

Once all three flags were stolen, runners were “dead.” But they could gain additional flags by carrying out optional tasks that often involved zombies guarding the various prizes.

Organizers said the races helped both amateur and professional runners stay focused without the boredom that can kill some runs.

“We like watching zombie shows and it really tickles our imagination,” said Angelo Cruz, organizer of Outbreak Manila, which seeks to promote fitness through the races and plans to hold similar events in the coming months.

“Right now, to have it in reality, it’s making everyone’s summer – I hope…”

At the end, runners were awarded prizes for their struggle and tried to express their feelings about surviving a global zombie takeover and what might be needed.

“The well-trained surely have higher endurance,” said Rodson Santos, a university student who wore a robot costume as his way of surviving the zombie hordes. “If you can outrun the zombies, then you’ll probably survive. But if you’re just a regular person without any exercise, chances are you will be easily caught.”

Har!

Written by Ed Campbell

April 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Worrying is good for you and reflects higher IQ — WTF?

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Some people have a cure-all for both worry and intelligence

Worrying is good for the brain and is vital for human survival, according to new research. It evolved in humans along with intelligence to make them more adept at avoiding danger.

A study of 42 people found the worst sufferers of a common anxiety disorder had a higher IQ than those whose symptoms were less severe. Scientists say their findings published in Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, suggest worrying has developed as a beneficial trait…

Jeremy Coplan said: “While excessive worry is generally seen as a negative trait and high intelligence as a positive one, worry may cause our species to avoid dangerous situations, regardless of how remote a possibility they may be.

“In essence, worry may make people ‘take no chances,’ and such people may have higher survival rates. Thus, like intelligence, worry may confer a benefit upon the species…” Even if it limits achievements?

Previous studies have indicated excessive worry tends to exist both in people with higher and lower intelligence, and less so in people of moderate intelligence.

It has been suggested people with lower intelligence suffer more anxiety because they achieve less success in life.

Phew! I was beginning to feel worried about all this. :)

Written by Ed Campbell

April 13, 2012 at 10:00 am

Protesting helmet laws + no helmet = Darwin award candidate

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Police say a motorcyclist participating in a protest ride against helmet laws in upstate New York died after he flipped over the bike’s handlebars and hit his head on the pavement.

The accident happened Saturday afternoon in the town of Onondaga, in central New York near Syracuse.

State troopers tell The Post-Standard of Syracuse that 55-year-old Philip A. Contos of Parish, N.Y., was driving a 1983 Harley Davidson with a group of bikers who were protesting helmet laws by not wearing helmets.

Troopers say Contos hit his brakes and the motorcycle fishtailed. The bike spun out of control, and Contos toppled over the handlebars. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Troopers say Contos would have likely survived if he had been wearing a helmet.

Uh-huh.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Written by Ed Campbell

July 4, 2011 at 6:00 am

Putting the dead to work

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Conservation paleobiologists–scientists who use the fossil record to understand the evolutionary and ecological responses of present-day species to changes in their environment–are putting the dead to work.

A new review of the research in this emerging field provides examples of how the fossil record can help assess environmental impacts, predict which species will be most vulnerable to environmental changes, and provide guidelines for restoration.

The literature review by conservation paleobiologists Gregory Dietl…and Karl Flessa…is published in the January, 2011, issue of the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the research.

“Conservation paleobiologists apply the data and tools of paleontology to today’s problems in biodiversity conservation,” says Dietl. The primary sources of data are “geohistorical”: the fossils, geochemistry and sediments of the geologic record.”

“A conservation paleobiology perspective has the unique advantage of being able to identify phenomena beyond time scales of direct observation,” Dietl says.

Such data, says Flessa, “are crucial for documenting the species we have already lost–such as the extinct birds of the Hawaiian islands–and for developing more effective conservation policies in the face of an uncertain future.”

Geohistorical records, the authors write, are critical to identifying where–and how–species survived long-ago periods of climate change.

“Historically, paleontologists have focused their efforts on understanding the deep-time geological record of ancient life on Earth, but these authors turn that focus 180 degrees,” says H. Richard Lane, program director in NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences, which funds Dietl’s and Flessa’s research.

“In putting the dead to work, they identify the significant impact knowledge of fossil life can have on interpreting modern biodiversity and ecological trends…”

An important role of geohistorical data is to provide access to a wider range of past environmental conditions–alternative worlds of every imaginable circumstance.

Tales of the past that may lead to better conservation practices, crucial for life, not death, on Earth.

RTFA. I haven’t yet found free access to the complete paper. Looks interesting. The examples contained in the press release are enough to stimulate thought and discussion.

Written by Ed Campbell

January 15, 2011 at 6:00 am

Bunker mentality is alive and well in America

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Abandon any notion of surviving the apocalypse by doing anything as boringly obvious as running for the highest hill, or eating cockroaches. The American firm Vivos is now offering you the chance to meet global catastrophe (caused by terrorism, tsunami, earthquake, volcano, pole shift, Iran, “social anarchy”, solar flare – a staggering list of potential world-murderers are considered) in style.

Vivos is building 20 underground “assurance of life” resorts across the US, capable of sustaining up to 4,000 people for a year when the earth no longer can. The cost? A little over £32,000 a head, plus a demeaning-sounding screening test that determines whether you are able to offer meaningful contribution to the continuation of the human race. Company literature posits, gently, that “Vivos may prove to be the next Genesis”, and they are understandably reluctant to flub the responsibility.

Should you have the credentials and the cash, the rewards of a berth in a Vivos shelter seem high. Each staffed complex has a decontamination shower and a jogging machine; a refrigerated vault for human DNA and a conference room with wheely chairs. There are TVs and radios, flat-screen computers, a hospital ward, even a dentist’s surgery ready to serve those who forgot to pack a toothbrush in the hurry. “Virtually any meal” can be cooked from a stockpile of ingredients that includes “baked potato soup” but, strangely, no fish, tinned or otherwise. Framed pictures of mountain ranges should help ease the loss of a world left behind.

Vivos says it has already received 1,000 applications.

Of course they have. There are the usual run-of-the-mill Christian Survivalists, militia membership optional, who sputter the same range of 18th-Century aphorisms as most teabaggers. They’re the ones preparing to subsist on bible verses and Spam.

The target clients are the miserable bastards whose greed probably caused half the problems afflicting humankind – and hung onto enough geedus to buy into a Death Condo from Vivos. Unless they already have access to one bought and paid for by state and federal taxpayers.

Then – there are the rest of us who keep on trying to build a better world – in the face of reactionary right-wing whiners and gutless liberals. We can’t afford to copout even if we wanted to.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 18, 2010 at 6:00 pm

War dogs remembered, decades late

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Maybe it was the sound of the wind cutting through the wire. Perhaps he caught a small vibration with his keen eyes. Or it could have been a slight difference in the air’s smell.
Whatever it was, when Sarge noticed that his Marine Corps handler, Fred Dorr, was creeping down the wrong path in the Vietnam jungle, the German shepherd did something he’d never done out in the field: He looked at Dorr and barked, before taking a seat.

“When he sat down, I knew there was a trip wire. I was one step away from it,” remembered Dorr, who with his dog in 1969 was “walking point,” leading the way for a dozen soldiers. Had the hidden explosive device been tripped, “It would have gotten half of us.”

More than 40 years later, the gratitude and love Dorr, 59, feels for the dog he served with is as strong as ever. And it’s for this reason that Dorr, president of the Vietnam Dog Handler Association, drove from his Yoakum, Texas, home to be in Southern California this week.

About 200 Vietnam War dog handlers, who were trained to read and communicate with their canine partners, have gathered for a reunion. And on Saturday they’ll join an expected several thousand others for the 10th anniversary rededication of the War Dog Memorial at the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside…

Washington also took notice. In November 2000, President Clinton signed into law legislation that established a military working dog adoption program. Now the dogs working in Iraq and Afghanistan will have a chance to find comfortable homes when they return from war.

For Dorr, of the Vietnam Dog Handler Association, this has been a blessing. He said leaving his partner Sarge behind, all those decades ago, haunted him…

But he now has Bluma, the war dog he adopted from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The German shepherd, who has hip problems, looks uncannily like Sarge, he said, and having him around is a source of comfort.

I’m taking care of an old vet,” Dorr said, “and he’s taking care of me.”

RTFA. A tale worth telling and retelling. A reminder that the bond of companionship between human and dog can be a strong as any other. Maybe more worthy.

Written by Ed Campbell

February 13, 2010 at 2:00 am

Spam, Spam, Spam – in Afghanistan

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After a helicopter carrying supplies was shot down, army chef Corporal Liam Francis was faced with six weeks of keeping hungry troops satisfied with tins of the famous, some might say infamous, chopped pork and ham product.

In the best traditions of the army, Francis managed to provide a wide-ranging menu based just on Spam…

I was surprised what we could do – sweet and sour Spam, Spam fritters, Spam carbonara, Spam stroganoff, Spam stir-fry … “

For a month and a half the supply line remained disrupted, during which the ingenuity of the 26-year-old, his co-workers and the patience of the troops was put to the test before fresh supplies finally got through.

Francis said: “On the first day I prepared battered Spam sausages, chips and curry sauce. The sergeant major said it was the best meal he had ever had – he’d never seen morale so high…”

With helicopter flights now far more regular, fresh food is getting into most of the forward operating bases in Afghanistan…

Spam first arrived in the UK from the US following the passing of the lend-lease act by the US government in 1941. The aim of the act was to aid allied forces in Britain and Russia during the second world war.

Spam was an interesting addition to the diet of a public struggling by on rations, but as lampooned in the Python sketch, Britain has had a love-hate relationship with the product.

My wife will shoot me for saying this; but – I like spam. It was our most reliable animal protein source aside from family-raised chickens during World War 2. Fortunately, my Mom was as innovative a cook as Corporal Francis – so, it worked.

Written by Ed Campbell

February 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm

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