5 survival uses for high-proof alcohol

1. Stove fuel: Maybe you have an alcohol-burning camp stove, or your made one like the beer can stove in our survival by beer gallery (link). For that type of stove, you’ll need some very high-proof liquor (like Everclear, if you can legally get it where you live) to efficiently cook your food and boil your water.

2. Wound management: It’s going to hurt, but alcohol could be used as an aggressive disinfectant on topical wounds. This is a pretty rough way to practice field medicine, but it is on the table as a last resort.

3. Pain management: From broken legs to broken hearts, lots of folks find solace in a sip or two of the good stuff. It’s not a perfect pain killer, but it may be all you have in a pinch. Just make sure your booze is the drinking kind. Denatured alcohol, rubbing alcohol, methanol, and many other alcohol products are toxic.

4. Bartering: Whether you drink alcohol or don’t, there will always be plenty of folks around who will want some. In the event of a prolonged disaster, alcohol (along with cigarettes and caffeine) could be a very valuable trade good.

5. Gear disinfectant: You could disinfect your gore-covered knife, the dirty drinking hose to your Camelback, or a host of other filthy things with some high-test booze. Think of it as hand sanitizer for everything else.

And if you’re not going to use it as a stove fuel, it helps start a fire. Although alcohol stoves are lightweight and really clean-burning, meaning that if you’re desperate, they can also be used to heat a tent,  provided you don’t have candles (and cook in it in a pinch). You can spend money on alcohol stoves but they’re simple enough to make, obviously, out of you know, trash.

But they lose points for not listing the best reason: getting blotto in the woods. Duh.

Anyway, 5 survival uses for high-proof alcohol.

Know, Live, Make » No Comments

Itchy sweater memories

Every year about this time I go on a Frank Lloyd Wright kick. I’m sure this is some sort of Pavlovian response connected to the holidays. When I was a kid we used to drive by a home designed by the controversial genius en route to my grandparent’s home. The owners of that particular Wright house would pull out all the stops in their impersonation of Clark Griswold if he had any sense of style or class. We’d ohh and ahh while we sweltered in the back seat wearing our itchy Sunday best clothes.

Every holiday season those muck-sweat stained memories resurface and prompt me to go surfing around the series of tubes looking for FLW homes. This year I found this article about the restoration of both the Muirhead House and the Westcott House (featured in the video link). I really shouldn’t watch this sort of thing because it makes me think A) I can learn carpentry and B) I should buy an old house an restore it.

Know, Live, Make » No Comments

Cookbook for 1000mph

So if you have any soul at all you are probably just a little bit curious about the Bloodhound SSC and their rocket car. Well now they have a book out detailing the build process. Written by top flight automotive journalist and land speed nutter David Tremayne and the Bloudhound gang. If there’s a gear head in your life who needs a gift, definitely consider the Bloodhound SSC “Secrets of Speed”

Know, Make » No Comments


Pretty awesome slideshow of swinging seventies interiors in Boeing 747s.

Now where is the SST for the masses? We’re all still flying around in what are basically 1960′s airframes. Maybe they’ve been spruced up with carbon fiber, and ultra slick glass cockpits, but in reality they’re just evolutions of the airframes Boeing and later Airbus have been pushing out for decades. It’s damn near 2013 and there are no flying cars and air travel is still as slow as it was in 1973. This is un…acceptable.

Know » 1 Comment

Accelerometer for yer bean

267167699 450x337 Accelerometer for yer bean

Beans. (img by Erich Ferdinand)

Gizmag does a nice job covering an accelerometer for helmets designed to help pinpoint competitors who may have just been concussed.

This is definitely something that would have been helpful in explaining to various coaches and parents that I was not, in fact, OK. I know I’ve had at least 5 concussions, and 4 other bonks to the noggin that are probables. A few were obvious, but after taking a play or two off, a visit from the trainer, maybe a thumbs up to mom and dad, I rejoined. Most of them, however, I did my best to hide.

I did this for two main reasons: I didn’t want to give the satisfaction of knowing I’d been lit up to the guy who’d done it to me, and I just don’t want to miss any of the game. Technology like this given to game officials could help protect teenage competitors like me from themselves.

I can say from personal experience that most players aren’t going to volunteer to leave the field of play. Nor can coaches of collision sports be relied upon to always make the best call for the player’s health. The macho element is just too prevalent. The decision to leave the field of play is so counter to the culture of these sports, and the pressure to show no pain so strong, that it is irresponsible to leave the decision hands of a kid; especially one who just had his molars rattled.

Equipping the officials with the ability to check the results on the accelerometer puts the decision in the hands of an impartial (hopefully) party.

Gear, Know, Play » No Comments