Tagged with survival

GalleryHimachal Pradesh - a mountainous journey commences

Our view of the Kinnaur Kailash range

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EssayHimachal Pradesh - a mountainous journey commences

Mountains are elusive features of nature - breathtakingly beautiful yet unknowable, massive and brutal. So it'll come as no surprise that describing a drive on a tiny strip of road meandering and switchbacking through parts of the largest mountain range in the world - the Himalaya Range - is hard to put into words. From every vantage these megaliths change their appearance; with every passing ... View Essay »

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Daily ritual: Coconut water. We try and drink coconut water once a day, to stave off the heat exhaustion. After our morning walk in the park, we visit our favorite coconut vendor - he always gives us sweet ones. He lops off the top and carefully whittles it down with an exceptionally sharp knife (for Indian standards, anyways), until it's tender enough to be pierced through with a common kitchen knife. We go home, cut some crude triangles, and glug, glug out comes that wonderful sweet water. Here are our little empties. What, you thought coconut water came in plastic juice box container? Hah, that's cute.

I love how in any environment, if you look to the foods that grow there, you will generally find something that is good for surviving there. Coconuts are a perfect example. Not only ... View Post »

EssayEn route to Nagpur

While cabs come in all shapes in sizes in India, privately rented vehicles seem to come in two varieties: those where the driver uses A/C and those where he does not. Our trip last Friday from Nagpur to visit the Brahmasthan (meaning center, near Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh) was of the latter type. We like the freedom of open windows. In the Indian countryside, though, there are a few setbacks to fresh-aired freedom. In addition to the burning sensation that travels from your nose to eyes to throat coming from the pervasive diesel exhaust, the dust is incredible. Our driver had smartly decorated his seats with cream-colored faux leather covers, successfully hiding the permanently caked layers of fine dust while also preventing us from ever being able to use our seat belts!

It's remarkable just how much dust can exist while still providing sufficient moisture for life to survive. Here in Madhya Pradesh, it only rains a few months out of the year. Trees look scrappy and thirsty, their leaves shiny and hard like stiff paper. View Essay »

Floods come to Bangkok

In the worst flooding in Thailand since the 1940s, Bangkok is now at risk. The last three months of monsoon flooding have taken the lives of 365 people, and put 600,000 people out of work from 14,000 companies (including factories for companies like Sony and Toshiba), according to the NYTimes. Up until now, most of the damage suffered has been in the north and central provinces.

Thailand's tourism industry, which is mostly to the south, has been little affected by the flooding. Last year Thailand attracted 15.8 million tourists and brought in $19 billion in profits, according to Bloomberg. According to CSMonitor, the government expects this year's floods to take 0.9% of GDP. The industry has been on the recovery from the 2004 tsunami that killed more than 8,000 people (including those ... View Post »

StoryHow clean is clean?

Again and again, we have been reminded of the necessity of washing your hands and obtaining food that has been thoroughly washed. But what are the metrics? We'd be really interested to know the answer to these questions…

Hand washing…
What germs generally can be found on your hands?

For how many minutes and how vigorously do you have to wash your hands to get off everyday germs? Is hand on hand action sufficient?

What kind of germs cannot be removed/killed this way?

Does water temp affect washing? If so, how hot does it need to be? Or is very cold water just as effective?

How much soap do you need to use?

Do bubbles play any role?

What is the mechanism of action in traditional bar soap vs liquid hand soap vs liquid antibacterial soap vs Purell?

Is ... View Story »

StoryLions and tigers and bears...

Some of the students here roam the jungle by day (specifically those on plant duty) and some roam at night (most critters are more active at night). Over the breakfast table today we learned of the night's events for those studying a species of frog. There are actually three groups here studying the same species of frog. While they have different aims, this particular frog is easy to catch and therefore popular for study. It seems if they could just get the damn things to survive in a lab - they've tried, but they generally don't even make it alive to Quito - no one would need to even venture out into the rainforest to study them. 

We're going to start tagging along in the evening with one of the groups, but Matt is waiting until I've… errr… acclimatized myself to the idea of woolly ... View Story »


Right now we're vetting different insurance policies in case of emergencies abroad. You wouldn't believe what you can find in all the policy fine print!


What's in your soil? Fill a container with half soil, half water, and wait half an hour. It will naturally separate. 0-150ml is sand and gravel, 150-200ml is either silt or clay (there should be layers for each), and 200ml to the top is water. We're checking the soil composition so we can build an earthen clay oven for baking. Looks like we may have to find our clay elsewhere…


In realtime, here is the progress of our very first basket - perfectly suitable for mocking.