This Is How Summer Can Kill You

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With summer comes great joy, but great dangers also lurk around almost every corner. Okay, the situation may not be as dramatic as I describe it, but the thing is, summer’s heat waves do present a clear and present danger to one’s health, especially in a survival situation.

The thing with summer is that almost all of us are gearing up for going out and experiencing epic adventures. Summer is vacation season and the best time of the year for businesses such as water parks, hot air balloon rides, bungee jumping resorts, para-sailing docks, and so on and so forth.

You see where this is going, right? Keep reading to find out!

Well, while you’re standing in line at any of these fine establishments, the thought that goes through your mind is probably, “This is how I’m going to die?”

Truth be told, this pessimistic state of mind is the logical consequence of years of horror stories pushed by the mainstream media, depicting terrifying accidents and misfortunes that people suffered during their summer holiday.

People died in all sorts of gruesome circumstances while having the time of their lives, i.e. when their hot-air balloon drifted into high-power lines, their parachute failed or their boat flipped at high speeds or on rushing rivers. Folks died or lost limbs while enjoying the ultimate ride at amusement parks or when hiking without proper training/guidance etc.

The nightmarish stories of good times gone bad go on and on.

And then there’s always death from exposure. To give you a grim statistic, heat exposure kills thirty outdoor workers on average on a yearly basis.

What we’re about talking here are agricultural, roofing, construction and landscaping workers; these folks are particularly at risk, especially during heat waves which promote heat-related deaths and illnesses such as heat stroke and heart attacks.

How will you survive when there is no doctor around? 

Keep in mind that the elderly are particularly affected by heat waves and in some geographical locations (like Arizona), air conditioning is not a luxury, but a necessity.

#1 Killer in the Summer Is…

So, let’s begin with the biggest killer during the summer season, which is heat, obviously.

Prolonged exposure to heat – especially humid heat – would have immediate effects on one’s health and state of mind alike. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are the most common issues associated with scorching heat, but sometimes the effects of prolonged exposure to excessive heat may take odd forms.

The most important thing one must realize during the summer is that dehydration is a killer. To stay properly hydrated, you should drink at least 2 liters of water per day (or approximately half a gallon), but that’s an average figure and it depends upon your age, gender, physical condition, and circumstances.

For example, you’ll require way more than 2 liters of water per day if you’re hiking in scorching heat or if you’re working out, rather than staying indoors in a house without air conditioning etc. That’s common sense, though.

If you don’t drink enough water to replace the loss of fluids which occurs via sweating, you’ll put your body in a state of emergency, as your body is losing salt and water and not getting enough electrolytes.

Salt, magnesium, and potassium imbalances caused by dehydration may cause cramps, cardiac arrhythmia, dizziness, and confusion – basically your brain doesn’t work right.

For people who aren’t used to heat, there’s also always the risk of heat edema and, worst case scenario, a fatal heat stroke when your body gives up and stops sweating. This occurs when you’re exposed to extreme heat for long periods of time and is called anhidrosis.

However, the most common problem that occurs during a summer heat wave is heat exhaustion.

Heat exhaustion is a consequence of one’s body losing significant amounts of salt and water; sans electrolytes, the body can’t cope with heat anymore. Salt and potassium are the two primary minerals that control your blood pressure and when you sweat, they’re two of the first that you lose.

Obviously, heat exhaustion and all heat related ailments are particularly dangerous in a survival situation, i.e. when you’re outdoors hiking, climbing, or whatever.

Heat exhaustion’s first symptom is when the core temperature rising above 98.6, your normal body temperature, resulting in intense thirst, heavy sweating, dizziness, and an overwhelming feel of fatigue. Your body is literally starting to cook.

The first thing that you need to do is get out of the heat if possible and hydrate, obviously. Avoid strenuous activities during the day in open sunny spots, especially if there’s a heat-wave warning.

Now, if heat exhaustion sets in, you must find a cool, shaded location and remove the victim’s clothes, including (especially) the shoes and socks then, apply wet clothes to the victim’s  face, head, neck, and if possible, their feet.

Spray with cool water if possible. Encourage the victim to drink as much water as possible. Sport drinks (if available) are great, as they contain minerals and vitamins (the famous electrolytes included) together with sugar, which gives the body a boost but push water, too.

Try to get medical aid as soon as possible, especially if you spot the early signs of a heat stroke (way worse than heat exhaustion), which include:

  • profuse sweating or hot,
  • dry skin,
  • a core temperature of around 104 degrees F (or higher),
  • feeling cold (yes, it seems strange, but it’s a fact),
  • loss of consciousness, and/or seizures.

All of these symptoms are signaling that the body’s mechanisms for coping with heat have failed and he/she’s at the death’s door. Heat strokes are very serious as they have a mortality rate of about ten percent, and yes, people really do die in extreme heat conditions, and it’s not rare.

Most people who die during heat waves are elderly folk living in big cities in the upper floors of buildings, especially old, inadequately ventilated condo buildings. Just in the US, over 600 people die annually and thousands visit emergency rooms due to extreme heat conditions.

Since we’ve already established that heat is a silent killer, as the weather gets more extreme, avoid the main danger by staying out of the sun. If you’re outdoors on foot, avoid traveling during the day, and do it by night, like Bedouins.

If you find yourself traveling or lost in the wilds in the heat, drinking lots of water and covering your head and your entire body in white (best case scenario) sheets would go a long way toward preserving your body’s reserve of electrolytes if traveling during the day.

The rule of the thumb is that when your core temperature gets above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re in serious trouble.

Obese and elderly people are especially vulnerable to heat, and small children have tiny hearts which are not always capable of cooling their bodies efficiently. Kids also have a slow sweat response, which puts them in danger in extreme situations.

And here are a few more hints on surviving the heat:

  • try to avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages (they act as diuretics) during heat waves,
  • maintain a proper level of hydration at all times,
  • when indoors, try to eliminate extra sources of heat (computers and appliances left running, computers, etc.),
  • don’t eat big, protein-rich meals as they warm the body by increasing metabolic heat, be ready to recognize the early symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke and take action.

Beware the Dangers in the Water!

Another thing to keep in mind during the hot summer season is that jumping in public swimming pools, lakes and ponds are not the best ideas for beating the heat wave. You should think at least twice before diving in these cesspools, which are giant petri dishes by any definition, leaving aside that going into cold water when you body is overheated can bring on a heart attack.

Even chlorinated swimming pools are filled with chlorine-resistant bacteria (think Cryptosporidium, a bacteria living in the stomach, E.coli etc.) which can cause all sorts of disease, especially for people with immune issues.

Freshwater lakes and rivers are also home to a myriad of bacteria, viruses, and amoebas. All these tiny bugs that flourish in warm water may cause diarrhea and vomiting, which are exacerbating the dangers of dehydration, if you catch my drift.

And with dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke are just around the corner, provided you don’t deal with it immediately. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes – less than 30 – for the situation to go from bad to worse if the conditions are right.

Besides the relatively harmless e Coli and Cryptosporidium, there are killer bacteria and viruses in lakes and rivers, which can infect you via water getting inside the nasal passage and then to the brain.

For example, Naegleria fowleri can cause a deadly infection of your CNS (central nervous system), called amoebic meningo-encephalitis.

There are dangers in paradise too, especially during the summer season when these places are packed full of people trying to relax and enjoy their vacations.

When Summer Turns into Disaster

The beach may look like paradise on Earth, but it’s not all fun and serenity. Beaches are also filled with dangers, and we’re not talking about heat stroke alone. Coastal areas in some parts of the planet are prone to tsunamis and others to hurricanes.

One may say that beaches are prime real estate when it comes to natural disasters, hence, stay frosty and learn your escape routes just in case disaster hits. Most coastal areas are using early warning systems including sensors which monitor storm and earthquake activity and issue hurricane/tsunami alerts.

Toxic algal blooms happen almost every summer in places like Florida, on its Gulf Coast especially. Algal blooms kill fish and shellfish and they also render them unsafe to eat. Remember to avoid eating shellfish and fish from areas affected by toxic algal blooms; also, avoid swimming in waters infested by these critters.

Even if shark attacks are relatively rare, keep in mind that where there are fish in the ocean, there also might be sharks, hence avoid swimming near fishing areas and also avoid murky waters and areas were fishing boats and diving sea birds abound.

It’s also important to remember not to swim alone, sharks or not, and never at dawn or dusk because that’s when sharks feed. Watches and jewelry gleam like fish scales in the water, so get rid of them.

Another danger for beach goers is rip currents, which may pull even the Olympic swimming champion away from the shore. These fast-moving currents of water kill at least one hundred people annually, especially at surf beaches, and those are just US figures.

If you’re caught in such a rip current, try not to fight it. Go with the current and swim parallel to the beach, and try to swim back to shore once you manage to pull out of the current. If that doesn’t do the job, try to float/tread water until the current stops and try to call for help.

Edge Sports Have Their Price

Parasailing is an awesome summer activity for thousands of Americans. If you’re not from this planet, parasailing means that you’re towed behind a boat using a parachute canopy while flying like Superman.

Even though this may sound safe as far as extreme sports go, the majority of fatal parasailing accidents occur as a result of high wind conditions. To play it safe, make sure the weather is friendly before engaging in such crazy activities, alright?

Scuba diving is another all-time favorite activity doing the summer season, but is plunging in deep blue waters safe? Well, pretty much yes, but there are caveats to that.

The most common causes of death during scuba diving are oxygen supply problems, cardiac issues, and emergency ascent. To play it safe when scuba diving, make sure you are prepared for the water and you’ve learned all the techniques from your instructor.

Next on the list is skydiving. Skydiving is immensely fun for those crazy bastards with no self-preservation instincts. I’m kidding, but yes, skydiving is becoming increasingly popular among certain folk during summer vacation.

Even though you’re more susceptible to death by a lightning strike or a bee sting than due to skydiving gone wrong, make sure to look for riggers, jumpers and pilots with proper certification before making the big jump into the abyss. The same goes for bungee jumping.

White water rafting is another dangerous summer activity and there are tons of potential hazards involved in this awesome water sport. To reduce risks associated with white water rafting, never boat alone, wear a life jacket and a helmet at all times, and don’t overestimate your skills.

If you’re a hot air balloon aficionado, make sure your ‘ballooner” has all the necessary paperwork and be aware of adverse weather conditions, especially wind, before getting in the basket.

Whatever you do during summer, stay safe and be aware of the dangers. Ultimately, learn your lesson about first aid and surviving without medical assistance. Click the banner below to get the knowledge!

I hope the article helped. If you have other ideas or comments, feel free to use the dedicated section below!

Off-grid Survival: How To Generate Energy In The Desert

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When people think of deserts, they picture extremely dry terrains with intolerable heat in the day that is quickly changed to extremely cold temperatures at night.

Despite this harsh environment, some energy generating methods may work better than others. Actually, electricity can be generated in these areas regardless of whether there is a crisis or not.

Bear in mind, however, that along with any given crisis situation, you will also have to account for characteristics of the land and its inhabitants.

Be Aware About the Risks!

Large scale solar power is a key to energy independence here in the United States, and desert areas seem to be the best place for solar panels and equipment. But those with an interest in off gridding and survival also get led the wrong way.

There are many problems you might go into when trying to generate power in the desert:

High Temperatures Increase Risk of Fire

Motors, gears, engines, and other machines all generate heat as one surface moves against another one, in locations where temperatures are already high, which means they will catch fire much faster. Solar panels in the desert lead to endless numbers of massive fires that kill off habitats and spell immense levels of danger to anyone living near them.

Military bases located near the panels have also complained about how excess heat from large scale solar interferes with planes landing and taking off. At the personal, survivor level, a solar cooker may work really well, but you will also have to keep the temperature from going too high.

Small scale, home based solar panels are also known to come with an increased fire risk, which means more water may be required than you will be able to obtain in a desert setting.

Not Enough Water

To generate electricity using heat from solar installations will take large amounts of water. In fact, it is estimated that large scale solar installations use almost as much water as refining crude and fracking. Cattle, horses, and all kinds of wild animals die because there is not enough water in the desert for both the use of solar power and sustaining living organisms.

Poisonous snakes are plentiful in desert. No matter whether you use a wind turbine, solar panels, or other devices, rest assured that rattlers and other poisonous snakes will be drawn to your home and power generating facilities. Never forget that many snakes can also burrow underground and pose other hazards as you try to build or maintain both large and small scale power generating equipment.

Sand and Sandstorms May Ruin Equipment

Sand is a highly abrasive and can easily damage wind turbine blades and just about anything else. In addition, sand particles can easily clog up motors and just about anything else that works best when free of dust and debris. All kinds of equipment (including battery systems and generators) need special protection to work properly in a desert environment.

High Variance in Temperatures

High variance in temperatures will make it difficult to use body power generation systems. No matter whether it is too hot to move around during the day hours or too cold at night, even a lightweight system will prove virtually useless in a desert setting.

The Hidden Advantages

As with any other terrain and situation, there are things that can make the desert a kind of place where you may feel that challenges are outweighed by the problems you will encounter. Here are some of them:

  • Contrary to popular belief, desert areas do not get more sun than other areas. The terrain and temperatures are so inhospitable, the human population is very low. If you can manage to live comfortably there, you won’t be as concerned about defending your power generating equipment from thieves.
  • In most scenarios, your first instincts include trying to harness solar or wind power, and unlike other areas, you’ll have very few tall objects to compete with. Even though the amount of sun and wind reaching the desert is the same as everywhere else, you will actually have a much easier time accessing it.
  • Passive heating and cooling systems can be turned into power generators with less effort. Since temperatures vary extensively in a 24 hour period, you can use the transition points for a number of applications that would not work as well in other settings.
  • Overall, you’ll need to generate less energy than in other settings. Cooking can easily be accomplished without using electricity or conventional fuels, and you may not need conventional fuel, electricity to heat for cooling the buildings. Outside of medical, communication devices, and refrigeration for foods, there will be very little need for large amounts of electricity in a desert setting, which means that smaller scale DIY based electricity generating systems may work perfectly in this setting.
  • Minimal corrosion and rust. When you have motors and other metallic objects, one of your greatest problems will be the development of rust and other forms of corrosion. In a desert setting, motors and other objects of metal will rarely, if ever rust out. Just remember that flying bits of sand can still damage equipment, and that you’ll still have maintain your system from being ruined.

5 Small Scale Power Systems

Solar panels and wind turbines are primitive at best, cost a lot of money, and may not withstand the test of time let alone be capable of producing electricity after a major crisis. On the other hand, newer devices with fewer moving parts and degradable materials may well work in desert.

While some of these technologies may not yet be available to consumers, keep them in mind and see what becomes available as time goes by.

Thermocoupling or Heat Junction Systems

Basically, these systems generate electricity when heat moves from a warmer substance to a cooler one. In this case, as the energy moves from one substance to another, it also generates an electrical charge. For example, you can take copper and iron wires and generate electricity when heat transfers from one metal to the other.

Steam Generators

Since deserts offer higher temperatures, generating steam can be done on small scale levels and be successful. You can use something as simple as a modified solar oven to heat up water, or use more complex systems based on large scale technologies. Your next step will be to use the steam blasts to turn a turbine, which will have magnets attached to it.

As the turbine spins, the magnets will also spin and cause electricity to flow in a nearby coil. Just remember that water is limited in the desert, so you will have to make sure that you can conserve and reuse what you have in the system as much as possible.

Air Based Generators

Simply heating up air will not work the same way as converting from water to steam. Even though heating up air causes it to expand, the force generated is not as much as you can get with steam because vaporized water is still denser than air.

To take advantage of air pressure, it is much easier to simply take air at lower temperatures, compress it, and then release it through a nozzle. If you are interested in using a pneumatic type of system, combine gravity operated motors to compress the air, and then release it onto a lightweight turbine.

Aerogels

This is a fairly new technology that relies on nano particles and strands to create ultrathin pieces of matter.

For example, zinc dioxide, can be shaped into very thin hairs that will behave differently than large quantities of the same material. Zinc Oxide at the nano level will push electrons along a nano wire instead of releasing heat when the wires are placed in a silicon aerogel.

While this research is very much in its infancy, there are many other materials, including low viscosity liquids that might be made into sandwich layers that might function like zinc oxide and silicon. Unfortunately, we actually know very little about all of the materials that are available in a desert environment as well as how they may be used in a similar fashion.

Rubber Band Heat Engine

One of the most fascinating things in a desert terrain is just how much of a temperature difference there is between areas exposed to the sun and those in the shade. With a minimal amount of effort, you can use that temperature difference to drive a rubber band heat engine.

You can generate a bit of extra heat using a solar cooker, or keeping some other heat retainer near the end of the wheel where the rubber band is supposed to contract. As with other power generation methods, you will always seek to convert this spinning energy into electricity using magnets and coils.

Video first seen on Dan Bruton.

Large Scale Systems You Can Build

Solar Power

Unless you have a fairly large group of people that require electricity, large scale solar systems would cost more than they are worth in a desert setting. For example, if you choose to try and build or maintain solar panels, the glare from them will easily capture attention for miles around.

This can spell disaster in the post crisis world, as well in the pre-crisis world where there is a constant push to prevent people from living off the grid.

Wind Power

Aside from wind turbines that require towers, there are some new turbines that can sit close to the ground. You could learn more about wind turbines that produce power when a pole is shaken. No matter whether sand or wind hits the pole, it will still generate electricity from the motion.

Hydroelectric Power

If you live in an area where you can get water from the ocean or another large body of water, it may be possible to generate power by transporting that water through underground pipes that house turbines at certain intervals.

This particular system is already being used in Israel, and even at low flow levels, produces about half the power of a hydroelectric dam. Just search for the Leviathan Hydroelectric project and give some thought to how it might work in a desert region closer to home.

If you are planning on building a bug out location in desert terrain, this may be even more incentive to establish yourself near a body of water.

Some desert regions have as much, if not more water flowing beneath the surface than you would find in other areas. Before purchasing land or deciding on any given area, be sure to study the water tables so that you know how deep you would have to drill for water.

If you happen to find a place with plenty of water, it may just be possible to create a pipe system that will generate more power with less problems than you would encounter with wind or solar generation methods.

Alternatives to Electricity

While generating electricity may be more of a challenge than expected in a desert environment, there are still many alternatives that will not work as well in other regions. For example, passive heating and cooling systems in a desert setting work well because of the rapid change in temperature between shade and full sun as well as between day and night.

Here are some other things you can use in a desert that may work better here than in other climates:

Solar Cooking and Cooling Devices

In most areas, your ability to use solar cookers during the day and solar coolers at night will depend on clear skies. Since it rarely rains in the desert, there are also very few cloudy days to worry about. As such, you can build both smaller and larger scale solar cookers to meet your food preparation needs.

You can also achieve good temperature reduction at night by simply aiming the solar collector at a clear area of sky.

Water Purification

In most settings, you will always be looking for enough fuel to purify water. On the other hand, in a desert setting, full sunlight can easily kill off any bacteria in the water in a minimal amount of time. If you need to distill the water in order to remove heavy metals or other chemical contaminants, you will also have plenty of heat available for this task.

Evaporative Refrigeration

The ability of Zeer pots to cool off materials in the inner chamber depends on how much water can be moved from the inner area to the outer one. Since desert air is very hot and dry, you will actually achieve a greater cooling effect than you would in cooler, moister climates.

You can also expand on this design to take advantage of other materials that wick water easily in order to build larger refrigerator units.

Solar Lenses

When you need to concentrate heat for cooking, purifying water, or some other task, you may not be willing to wait an hour or more for the appropriate temperature to be reached. There are many lenses on the market that are designed to harness sunlight to produce several hundred degrees of heat in a matter of minutes.

Just be sure to operate these lenses in areas where they will not create fires. Even a low-grade magnifying glass can start fires in much cooler temperatures.

Food Storage Alternatives

The heat of a desert setting is more than enough to cause many different kinds of foods to spoil. On the other hand, there is nothing quite like hot, dry desert air for drying foods. No matter whether you grow fruits and vegetables indoors or hunt the for meat, all of these foods can be easily preserved by simply laying them out to dry.

Individuals that use electric food driers and other gadgets are sure to be surprised at how much better the foods taste, as well as how much easier the process is.

Obtaining Water

You will more than likely need an electric water pump if you have a well in the desert. Since these wells may go down several hundred to several thousands feet, a hand pump may not be a viable option. You could also have a pond or other nearby source of surface level water to draw water from with a ram pump or Archimedes Screw.

Or you could have a system that can draw water from the air, but it’s not likely to draw enough to meet your needs.

Under the circumstances, keep in mind a few things when obtaining water without using electricity:

  • making sure that any and all water is used and reused as much as possible, including taking waste water and dumping it into a sand pit during the early morning hours. Next place plastic over the pit with a rock in the center of the plastic. You can capture clean water in a pot or bucket as the moisture evaporates and hits the plastic instead of escaping into the air.
  • Setting up rain barrels and cisterns that can be used to capture any rain that does happen to fall. You can also set up large tarps so that you cover as much area as possible. Rains in the desert tend to be very intense, and they will also depart as quickly as they arrive. As such, you will need to capture the water quickly, and then store it in a location where it will not evaporate before you have a chance to use it. You will still need to purify the water before you use it in order to make sure it is as clean as possible.

Generating power in a desert setting will come with many challenges. If you find yourself in the desert and know that you must survive there for some time, there is no reason for your life and well-being to be threatened by lack of electricity.

You can take advantage of many alternatives to using power that may be impractical or far less feasible in other settings.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References

phys.org/news/2014-03-electricity.html

instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Rubber-Band-Heat-Engine/

How To Generate Energy In The Desert

Click here to view the original post.

When people think of deserts, they picture extremely dry terrains with intolerable heat in the day that is quickly changed to extremely cold temperatures at night.

Despite this harsh environment, some energy generating methods may work better than others. Actually, electricity can be generated in these areas regardless of whether there is a crisis or not.

Bear in mind, however, that along with any given crisis situation, you will also have to account for characteristics of the land and its inhabitants.

Be Aware About the Risks!

Large scale solar power is a key to energy independence here in the United States, and desert areas seem to be the best place for solar panels and equipment. But those with an interest in off gridding and survival also get led the wrong way.

There are many problems you might go into when trying to generate power in the desert:

High Temperatures Increase Risk of Fire

Motors, gears, engines, and other machines all generate heat as one surface moves against another one, in locations where temperatures are already high, which means they will catch fire much faster. Solar panels in the desert lead to endless numbers of massive fires that kill off habitats and spell immense levels of danger to anyone living near them.

Military bases located near the panels have also complained about how excess heat from large scale solar interferes with planes landing and taking off. At the personal, survivor level, a solar cooker may work really well, but you will also have to keep the temperature from going too high.

Small scale, home based solar panels are also known to come with an increased fire risk, which means more water may be required than you will be able to obtain in a desert setting.

Not Enough Water

To generate electricity using heat from solar installations will take large amounts of water. In fact, it is estimated that large scale solar installations use almost as much water as refining crude and fracking. Cattle, horses, and all kinds of wild animals die because there is not enough water in the desert for both the use of solar power and sustaining living organisms.

Poisonous snakes are plentiful in desert. No matter whether you use a wind turbine, solar panels, or other devices, rest assured that rattlers and other poisonous snakes will be drawn to your home and power generating facilities. Never forget that many snakes can also burrow underground and pose other hazards as you try to build or maintain both large and small scale power generating equipment.

Sand and Sandstorms May Ruin Equipment

Sand is a highly abrasive and can easily damage wind turbine blades and just about anything else. In addition, sand particles can easily clog up motors and just about anything else that works best when free of dust and debris. All kinds of equipment (including battery systems and generators) need special protection to work properly in a desert environment.

High Variance in Temperatures

High variance in temperatures will make it difficult to use body power generation systems. No matter whether it is too hot to move around during the day hours or too cold at night, even a lightweight system will prove virtually useless in a desert setting.

The Hidden Advantages

As with any other terrain and situation, there are things that can make the desert a kind of place where you may feel that challenges are outweighed by the problems you will encounter. Here are some of them:

  • Contrary to popular belief, desert areas do not get more sun than other areas. The terrain and temperatures are so inhospitable, the human population is very low. If you can manage to live comfortably there, you won’t be as concerned about defending your power generating equipment from thieves.
  • In most scenarios, your first instincts include trying to harness solar or wind power, and unlike other areas, you’ll have very few tall objects to compete with. Even though the amount of sun and wind reaching the desert is the same as everywhere else, you will actually have a much easier time accessing it.
  • Passive heating and cooling systems can be turned into power generators with less effort. Since temperatures vary extensively in a 24 hour period, you can use the transition points for a number of applications that would not work as well in other settings.
  • Overall, you’ll need to generate less energy than in other settings. Cooking can easily be accomplished without using electricity or conventional fuels, and you may not need conventional fuel, electricity to heat for cooling the buildings. Outside of medical, communication devices, and refrigeration for foods, there will be very little need for large amounts of electricity in a desert setting, which means that smaller scale DIY based electricity generating systems may work perfectly in this setting.
  • Minimal corrosion and rust. When you have motors and other metallic objects, one of your greatest problems will be the development of rust and other forms of corrosion. In a desert setting, motors and other objects of metal will rarely, if ever rust out. Just remember that flying bits of sand can still damage equipment, and that you’ll still have maintain your system from being ruined.

5 Small Scale Power Systems

Solar panels and wind turbines are primitive at best, cost a lot of money, and may not withstand the test of time let alone be capable of producing electricity after a major crisis. On the other hand, newer devices with fewer moving parts and degradable materials may well work in desert.

While some of these technologies may not yet be available to consumers, keep them in mind and see what becomes available as time goes by.

Thermocoupling or Heat Junction Systems

Basically, these systems generate electricity when heat moves from a warmer substance to a cooler one. In this case, as the energy moves from one substance to another, it also generates an electrical charge. For example, you can take copper and iron wires and generate electricity when heat transfers from one metal to the other.

Steam Generators

Since deserts offer higher temperatures, generating steam can be done on small scale levels and be successful. You can use something as simple as a modified solar oven to heat up water, or use more complex systems based on large scale technologies. Your next step will be to use the steam blasts to turn a turbine, which will have magnets attached to it.

As the turbine spins, the magnets will also spin and cause electricity to flow in a nearby coil. Just remember that water is limited in the desert, so you will have to make sure that you can conserve and reuse what you have in the system as much as possible.

Air Based Generators

Simply heating up air will not work the same way as converting from water to steam. Even though heating up air causes it to expand, the force generated is not as much as you can get with steam because vaporized water is still denser than air.

To take advantage of air pressure, it is much easier to simply take air at lower temperatures, compress it, and then release it through a nozzle. If you are interested in using a pneumatic type of system, combine gravity operated motors to compress the air, and then release it onto a lightweight turbine.

Aerogels

This is a fairly new technology that relies on nano particles and strands to create ultrathin pieces of matter.

For example, zinc dioxide, can be shaped into very thin hairs that will behave differently than large quantities of the same material. Zinc Oxide at the nano level will push electrons along a nano wire instead of releasing heat when the wires are placed in a silicon aerogel.

While this research is very much in its infancy, there are many other materials, including low viscosity liquids that might be made into sandwich layers that might function like zinc oxide and silicon. Unfortunately, we actually know very little about all of the materials that are available in a desert environment as well as how they may be used in a similar fashion.

Rubber Band Heat Engine

One of the most fascinating things in a desert terrain is just how much of a temperature difference there is between areas exposed to the sun and those in the shade. With a minimal amount of effort, you can use that temperature difference to drive a rubber band heat engine.

You can generate a bit of extra heat using a solar cooker, or keeping some other heat retainer near the end of the wheel where the rubber band is supposed to contract. As with other power generation methods, you will always seek to convert this spinning energy into electricity using magnets and coils.

Video first seen on Dan Bruton.

Large Scale Systems You Can Build

Solar Power

Unless you have a fairly large group of people that require electricity, large scale solar systems would cost more than they are worth in a desert setting. For example, if you choose to try and build or maintain solar panels, the glare from them will easily capture attention for miles around.

This can spell disaster in the post crisis world, as well in the pre-crisis world where there is a constant push to prevent people from living off the grid.

Wind Power

Aside from wind turbines that require towers, there are some new turbines that can sit close to the ground. You could learn more about wind turbines that produce power when a pole is shaken. No matter whether sand or wind hits the pole, it will still generate electricity from the motion.

Hydroelectric Power

If you live in an area where you can get water from the ocean or another large body of water, it may be possible to generate power by transporting that water through underground pipes that house turbines at certain intervals.

This particular system is already being used in Israel, and even at low flow levels, produces about half the power of a hydroelectric dam. Just search for the Leviathan Hydroelectric project and give some thought to how it might work in a desert region closer to home.

If you are planning on building a bug out location in desert terrain, this may be even more incentive to establish yourself near a body of water.

Some desert regions have as much, if not more water flowing beneath the surface than you would find in other areas. Before purchasing land or deciding on any given area, be sure to study the water tables so that you know how deep you would have to drill for water.

If you happen to find a place with plenty of water, it may just be possible to create a pipe system that will generate more power with less problems than you would encounter with wind or solar generation methods.

Alternatives to Electricity

While generating electricity may be more of a challenge than expected in a desert environment, there are still many alternatives that will not work as well in other regions. For example, passive heating and cooling systems in a desert setting work well because of the rapid change in temperature between shade and full sun as well as between day and night.

Here are some other things you can use in a desert that may work better here than in other climates:

Solar Cooking and Cooling Devices

In most areas, your ability to use solar cookers during the day and solar coolers at night will depend on clear skies. Since it rarely rains in the desert, there are also very few cloudy days to worry about. As such, you can build both smaller and larger scale solar cookers to meet your food preparation needs.

You can also achieve good temperature reduction at night by simply aiming the solar collector at a clear area of sky.

Water Purification

In most settings, you will always be looking for enough fuel to purify water. On the other hand, in a desert setting, full sunlight can easily kill off any bacteria in the water in a minimal amount of time. If you need to distill the water in order to remove heavy metals or other chemical contaminants, you will also have plenty of heat available for this task.

Evaporative Refrigeration

The ability of Zeer pots to cool off materials in the inner chamber depends on how much water can be moved from the inner area to the outer one. Since desert air is very hot and dry, you will actually achieve a greater cooling effect than you would in cooler, moister climates.

You can also expand on this design to take advantage of other materials that wick water easily in order to build larger refrigerator units.

Solar Lenses

When you need to concentrate heat for cooking, purifying water, or some other task, you may not be willing to wait an hour or more for the appropriate temperature to be reached. There are many lenses on the market that are designed to harness sunlight to produce several hundred degrees of heat in a matter of minutes.

Just be sure to operate these lenses in areas where they will not create fires. Even a low-grade magnifying glass can start fires in much cooler temperatures.

Food Storage Alternatives

The heat of a desert setting is more than enough to cause many different kinds of foods to spoil. On the other hand, there is nothing quite like hot, dry desert air for drying foods. No matter whether you grow fruits and vegetables indoors or hunt the for meat, all of these foods can be easily preserved by simply laying them out to dry.

Individuals that use electric food driers and other gadgets are sure to be surprised at how much better the foods taste, as well as how much easier the process is.

Obtaining Water

You will more than likely need an electric water pump if you have a well in the desert. Since these wells may go down several hundred to several thousands feet, a hand pump may not be a viable option. You could also have a pond or other nearby source of surface level water to draw water from with a ram pump or Archimedes Screw.

Or you could have a system that can draw water from the air, but it’s not likely to draw enough to meet your needs.

Under the circumstances, keep in mind a few things when obtaining water without using electricity:

  • making sure that any and all water is used and reused as much as possible, including taking waste water and dumping it into a sand pit during the early morning hours. Next place plastic over the pit with a rock in the center of the plastic. You can capture clean water in a pot or bucket as the moisture evaporates and hits the plastic instead of escaping into the air.
  • Setting up rain barrels and cisterns that can be used to capture any rain that does happen to fall. You can also set up large tarps so that you cover as much area as possible. Rains in the desert tend to be very intense, and they will also depart as quickly as they arrive. As such, you will need to capture the water quickly, and then store it in a location where it will not evaporate before you have a chance to use it. You will still need to purify the water before you use it in order to make sure it is as clean as possible.

Generating power in a desert setting will come with many challenges. If you find yourself in the desert and know that you must survive there for some time, there is no reason for your life and well-being to be threatened by lack of electricity.

You can take advantage of many alternatives to using power that may be impractical or far less feasible in other settings.

This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References

phys.org/news/2014-03-electricity.html

instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Rubber-Band-Heat-Engine/

5 DIY Cooling Devices For Your Off-grid Survival

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Survivopedia DIY cooling devices

I’m not sure how the weather is in your neck of the woods, but here in Survivopedia-land I’m dealing with 93-94 F on a daily basis for the last couple of months.

Being hot as hell, the air-conditioner works full time during the day. Now, the question is, how can you deal with a heatwave when it comes to off-grid survival? I mean, our ancestors managed to get through it, but what would happen to you, dear reader, in a survival scenario?

The idea is that there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve your quality of life even when it comes to life in the wilderness.

Now, off grid survival means that you’re basically out there somewhere on your own, without a hardware store nearby and likely without power, right? Can you improvise something to mitigate a bad case of scorching heat, at least temporarily?

Well, let’s talk about a few ideas about how to DIY your own air conditioner in case you need it, shall we? Let’s begin with the basics.

Since we’re talking about off-grid scenarios, the point is to build an air conditioner which doesn’t eat a lot of power, like the regular ones do, i.e. we want to manufacture a cooling device that can work well on solar power or using a car battery.

Project 1: The Dirt Cheap Cooler

Our first DIY project is about an air cooling gizmo that is manufactured from readily available, dirt cheap materials. It’s fun and easy to build, yet strong enough to cool you off some on a day like this (today was a real scorcher).

The materials required for this baby are an ice-chest (a hard-sided/plastic one), PVC pipe, a small fan, and ice. Easy as pie, right? The trick is how to get the ice, but if you can sort that one out, well, the world will be your (cool) oyster.

To power this device, you’ll have three choices: solar power (you’ll have to put a solar-panel on the bucket-list), a battery, or your own automobile using the car’s 12 volt cigarette lighter plug.

The specs of the fan are 12 VDC 10 watt 0.8 amperes. If you’re going for solar power, you’ll need a 15 watt/1 ampere system. Also, this DIY project works best in dry climates, as dry air cools faster than humid air.

A block of ice will last for five hours (empirical evidence) while larger blocks will last you twice as that, up to ten hours. The DIY job is very straight forward and here’s a video tutorial with easy to follow instructions.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

Basically, you’ll have to cut 2 holes in the ice box. At one end you’ll install the fan, which will suck air into the ice-box (you must put a chunk of ice inside). At the other end, you’ll have to install a PVC pipe that will blow the cooled air into the room.

You’ll need a cutting tool to make the cuts in the plastic ice-box but, truth be told, this is a 15 minutes job tops if you’re good with your hands and you own the proper tools. This improvised AC is able to deliver very cold air – 42F more precisely – but when the ice runs out (as in melts away), you’ll start sweating again.

Project 2: Another Ice Cooler

This is a variant of the first DIY project, as it uses basically the same principle and materials as the first one, sans the plastic ice chest.

Instead, you’ll be using a Styrofoam ice-box, which is way cheaper and easier to cut for installing the fan and the PVC pipe. The rest is basically the same, i.e. a solar panel/battery for powering the fan and some ice.

As I already told you, in these 2 DIY jobs, which are massive fun if you’ll be involving your kids, the essential ingredient is the ice. If you can’t get the ice, you’ll be doomed. Here’s the video tutorial with detailed and easy-to-follow instructions.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

Project 3: The Bucket Air Cooler

This home-made air conditioner is an internet classic known as the five gallon bucket air cooler. Also, a variant of the previous two, using the famous five gallon bucket instead of the plastic/Styrofoam ice-box. The materials and tools required are the same: the fan, the PVC pipe, etc.

Remember folks, all three of these projects are non-compressor based, hence getting the ice is the catch 22.

However, one frozen jug of water put in the five gallon bucket air conditioner lasted for six hours, so we can describe these DIY “sans compressor” air-conditioners as the “redneck’s cooler”, provided you have power (via solar, generator, etc.) and a refrigerator available to make ice.

It’s also good if you can’t afford or don’t want to buy a regular AC unit for various reasons. I almost forgot the most important part: here’s the video tutorial.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

Project 4: The Geo-thermal Air Cooler

The next project doesn’t require buckets or ice chests and it has a fancy name too: the DIY geothermal cooling system. This is a rather complicated project which requires some skills and some tools and materials. The general idea is pretty simple, though.

Video first seen on luke Fugate.

This guy is using the water from a deep well and a small electric pump to recirculate it via hoses. There is a copper-hose section and also a bunch of recycled parts from an old AC unit used to build a very interesting air cooling device. It basically recirculates the cold water from the well to cool the air via a copper radiator mounted inside the house.

This is a low-energy-sans-compressor air conditioning unit, but it doesn’t require ice for doing the cooling job, hence it’s a true off-grid air conditioner, provided you have the gear and the well.

Truth be told, the geo-thermal cooling device makes for a very interesting idea to say the least, as this DIY air conditioner can be powered using a solar-panel installation or a car battery for extended periods of time (it’s not power-hungry).

Project 5: The Vortex Cooling Gizmo

Last but not least, enter the pompously named DIY Homemade Vortex Cooling Gizmo. Keep in mind that you’ll need a source of compressed air for running this DIY air cooling project, so there’s a catch 22 built into it from the beginning. As long as you have compressed air available, (as in a compressor which requires power), here’s the video-tutorial depicting all the stages of the project (there’s a part deux too).

Video first seen on Otto Belden.

Provided you have all the tools, materials, and skills required, you can build a very efficient air conditioner that can decrease the temperature anywhere between 10-15 degrees F when it comes to cooling. The idea is to build a vortex cooling tube (it has no moving parts) which separates hot and cold air using a compressor.

Thus, going from high pressure to low pressure, you’ll create a temperature drop, i.e. air conditioning. The same basic principle is used in commercial refrigeration systems like your AC unit or your fridge.

To make things simpler (less DIY that is), you can buy an expansion valve or an orifice-tube setup from an auto parts store (20 bucks or less) and save a lot of assembly work.

I hope the article helped. If you have other ideas or comments, just use the dedicated section below. Good luck and have fun folks!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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4 Ways To Help Your Plants Survive A Heatwave

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Survivopedia plants and heatwave

Plants need sunshine to grow, but when the temperatures are too hot, your plants feel the impact. They can wilt, wither, and eventually die from too much heat.

The best way to prepare your plants is to incorporate protection into your garden plan. You can look for local plant varieties that are proven in your area’s weather.

On your hottest days, you’ll still need to take extra precautions, but picking the right kinds will give your plants a better chance.

You should also plan your garden for heat. Sun map your plot so you know what areas get the most sun. Use taller plants to offer shade to smaller ones. Add trees to your master plan, and use the shade they offer wisely as you plan.

Even if you haven’t planned for hot days, there are steps you can take to protect your plants from a heatwave. These will help ensure you don’t lose your harvest.

Water

wateringThe roots of plants take up water and it’s delivered to the rest of the plant through a variety of veins.

It takes energy for the plant to get the water where it needs to go.

During the hottest part of the day, plants are expending energy simply staying alive in the heat.

They don’t have the energy they need to efficiently move water through their veins.

Mid-day watering may reach the roots, but it’s not likely to travel up the plant to where it’s most needed.

So when you water, make sure it’s in the early morning or evening when the temperatures are a bit lower. This way your watering efforts aren’t wasted.

Since the roots have to get the water, drip irrigation systems help deliver the water where it’s needed. When you water from above, it’s harder for the roots to get as much water. They’re competing with the other plants or weeds in the area, and with evaporation from the sun.

You’re also more likely to cause runoff when you water with a traditional hose or sprinkler. The dry ground takes time to absorb the water. If you apply too much water too quickly, it’ll get the top soil wet and then runoff.

Drip irrigation allows you to slowly water the top soil, and the soil the roots are actually growing in. You want to get that water about 18 inches into the ground. That way the roots can continue to use it once you’ve stopped watering.

During the hottest days, you don’t want to overwater your plants. Moist soil and hot days offer the perfect environment for a variety of fungi and other plant problems. Overwatering encourages their growth.

Plan on soaking your garden once a week, and always test the soil for moisture before watering. Wilted leaves aren’t always a sign that more water is needed. Sometimes, plants wilt in the sun just because of the heat. If your wilted plants look better in the cool evening, they aren’t in need of water.

If you find certain plants do need more water, you don’t need to water everything to save that plant. Just spot water, allowing the water to penetrate the ground into the roots. Applying water correctly will help your plants survive in the heat.

Soil & Mulch

Now that we’ve tackled water, let’s talk about soil and mulch. Some soil holds water better than others. If you have a sandy garden, you’ll probably need to water more often.

Take steps like applying compost to improve your soil, so keep your compost pile going strong to give your plants what they need.

No matter the state of your soil, a good layer of mulch will help hold in water. It’ll also help prevent weeds from growing. That’ll mean fewer plants will be competing for water.

You can use a variety of materials to mulch your garden. By using what you have on hand, you can keep your costs really low. Gardeners have used a thick layer of newspaper, straw, wood shavings, dried grass clippings, or cardboard to mulch plants.

If you use a light colored mulch, you’ll also help keep the sun’s rays from heating the soil too much. A lower temperature in the soil means your plants are more likely to survive.

mulch

Pruning & Fertilizing

A heatwave is not the time for pruning or fertilizing your plants. Both of these activities cause a burst of growth. Your plant will put all of its energy into growing, and won’t be as able to withstand the heat.

You also risk your plant absorbing the fertilizer too quickly, and burning as a result. So save your fertilizing (even with natural fertilizer) for a cooler day.

If you have wilted leaves, don’t prune them off until the heatwave passes. The leaves offer a bit of shade to the stem of the plant, and can help protect it.

Shade

Shade offers much relief to a hot plant. Shade keeps the direct sunlight off of your plants. It’ll also help them lower their temperature, and increase their defenses

For plants that are in containers, planters, or pots, move them into the shade is possible. For plants that are unmovable, you’ll need to look for other ways to get them shaded.

How to Create Shadow for Your Plants

If your garden lacks natural shade from taller plants or trees, you can easily set up some temporary patches using one of these methods:

Cardboard and Stakes

Use stiff cardboard and stakes to set up shade wherever you need it. You can cut the cardboard to the size you need. Then use a heavy duty stapler to attach it to your wooden stakes.

Pound the stake in the ground around your most delicate plants, and they’ll get instant shade. This set-up is inexpensive, easily installed, and highly portable.

Lawn Chairs

If you’re caught with an unexpected heatwave, you can use your patio furniture to protect your plants. Just carefully set up a lawn chair to provide protection. Because of the legs, you may not be able to use this in all garden setups.

If you don’t have any lawn chairs, look around your property for items that are easily moveable and don’t weigh too much. You don’t want to compact your soil as you make shade. Here are some ideas that I’ve used in my garden:

  • A laundry basket
  • A cardboard box
  • A plant pot

Shade Cloths

You can buy shade cloths online or in your local garden center. You can attach this to posts in your garden, or to stakes.

If you’re using dark colored shade cloth, keep an eye on your soil temperatures. If the cloth is too close to the ground, you can inadvertently bake your plants.

Paper Bags

You can gently pull a paper bag over your plants. You’ll want to staple or tape the end closed to keep it from flying off.

You don’t want to obstruct air flow for too long however, so be sure to remove these bags as soon as the heat of the day has passed.

Wood Lattice with Bricks

If you have a piece of wood lattice and bricks, you can make shade. You’ll want to make four stacks of bricks, one for each corner of the lattice. Place these where you need it, and then set the lattice on top. This method is especially useful for newly sown seeds and low crops.

What Plants Need Shade the Most?

If you aren’t able to shade your entire garden, you’ll want to prioritize your plants. Some plants will bolt if they overheat, while others may wither a bit, but will bounce back.

Here are some of the plants you’ll want to be extra careful with in a heatwave:

  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Cilantro
  • Cauliflower and Broccoli
  • Any cool weather crops

If your area is typically hot, you should hold off planting these heat-sensitive plants until closer to fall’s cooler weather. During the hot sun, plant your heat-loving plants like tomatoes, corn, and melons. That way you take advantage of natural growing patterns that each plant needs.

light

Wilted Plants

Sometimes even with your tender loving care, plants wilt. It’s a reaction when the plant leaves are shedding water faster than the roots can get it up the stem. It’s a natural phenomenon similar to the way humans sweat. It helps the plants protect themselves.

Smaller, or freshly transplanted plants are more likely to wilt in the sun. That’s because their root system isn’t as established yet.

Usually, your plants will bounce back on their own once the temperatures drop. You’ll notice that they look normal in the evenings, and then wilt when the sun returns to high in the sky.

If your plants are still wilted in the evening, double check that their soil is moist. If not, give the thirsty plant a nice long drink to saturate the roots.

If watering doesn’t help, you’ll also want to ensure that you aren’t dealing with root rot. This can cause wilting leaves as well.

Is it hot where you are?

What are your best tips for keeping your garden growing strong even in the summer heat? I know our readers would love to hear what works for you, so please share in the comment section.

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This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia.

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How to Prepare for Extreme Heat

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com When making a list of disasters to prepare for, few people would include extreme heat as a potential emergency.   As I write this, it is 83 degrees outside.  Combined with the humidity, it feels like it’s still in the 90s, at 9:00 pm.  There is no relief even in the evening hours.  It is only June, with the hotter months yet to come in Texas.   Many areas in the country are sweltering as […]

The post How to Prepare for Extreme Heat appeared first on Apartment Prepper.

Extreme Heat To Remain In Perth, Western Australia Into Midweek

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Survival World News

By Adam Douty AccuWeather

Through the first week of February, heat has been building across Western Australia with high temperatures recently climbing well over 39 Celsius (100 Fahrenheit). As dry conditions remain across the region, the hot spell will continue with dangerous conditions for outdoor activities.

In stark contrast to the cooler-than-average conditions that were seen across western portions of Australia during the beginning of February, highs into the middle of the week will be 6-8 degrees Celsius (10-15 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than normal.

On Sunday, the temperature soared to 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in Perth. Only one other day was hotter so far this summer. It will turn even hotter during the beginning of this week with highs expected to hit 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) on Monday and on Tuesday. AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures will be near 45 Celsius (113 Fahrenheit).

If the temperature hits this mark, these…

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