6 Crazy Ways People Are Prepping for Doomsday

By Chris Gayomali


REUTERS/China Daily China Daily Information Corp - CDIC

Circle your calendars: The world ends on December 21 ... at least according to some out-there prognosticators. And predictably, more than a few rattled souls from different corners of the globe are rushing to empty their savings accounts and stockpile nonperishable food, guns, ammo, gas generators, and whatever other doomsday supplies they can get their hands on. Of course, the Mayan calendar predicting the end of times has probably been misread, and NASA insists there aren't any asteroids headed our way any time soon. But the philosophy of these so-called "preppers" is that you can never, ever be too careful. Here's how they're getting ready for the end of the world:

1. The man building Noah's Ark

Lu Zhenghai of China is sinking $160,000 of his life savings into a massive ship to ensure that he and his family are protected in the event of a worldwide flood. The house-sized ship is pretty substantial, too. At 65 feet long, it weighs about 80 tons, built mostly of timber and steel. It's unclear if there will be any animals taken onboard.

2. The man who built a nuclear shelter out of school busses

Bruce Beach, a 78-year-old former high school teacher living in Ontario, is no stranger to fallout shelters. He built his first in response to the Cuban missile crisis in the '60s. His life's work, a sprawling underground labyrinth nicknamed "Ark Two," was finished in the 1980s and is comprised of 42 underground school busses. Beach rents out rooms in Ark Two, and like most B&Bs, Ark Two rooms boast a kitchen, shower, and separate bunks for children and adults. "People have been in a panic because someone has prophesized the end of the world this particular week or whatever," he told the Canadian Press. "They call us up just to make sure we have space in the shelter and I tell them, "For sure, come on down."

3. The man building 3-ton steel balls

Not to be outdone by his ship-building countryman, 32-year-old Yang Zongfu of China has been building 3-ton yellow steel balls measuring 13 feet in diameter. The balls are hollow, and inside each there are seatbelts. They're designed to withstand a volcano, tsunami, earthquake, or nuclear meltdown. Yang calls each anti-disaster bubble "Atlantis."

4. The man who spent $130,000 on survival equipment

More than $130,000 of author Patrick Geryl's savings has gone into survival prep. In a small wooden bunker in South Africa (far away from the site of a potential nuclear meltdown), Geryl has stockpiled walls of guns, ammo, water purification tablets, and more, should the world need to be re-colonized. All of this is detailed in his tell-all book, How to Survive 2012. But with only two-and-a-half stars on Amazon, it's safe to say it probably won't make any best-seller lists come 2013.

5. The man who spent $350,000 on survival equipment

$130,000 is nothing! Australian marketer Robert Bast, 46, is the proprietor of a community called Survive2012.com, and has spent upwards of $350,000 stockpiling food, water, gas cookers, generators, and a pick-up truck to take his wife and three children to a safe house 1,500 feet above sea level. "What is certain is that in my lifetime, there is a strong likelihood that there will be a catastrophe of some kind," he tells CNN. "The sun destroying power grids, a flu pandemic that kills millions, an asteroid or meteor or comet striking earth, or a magnetic pole shift."

6. The couple stockpiling honey bees

A New England mom named Kathy Harrison prefers her other nickname: The "Doris Day of Doom." But rather than stockpile weapons and ammunition, Harrison and her husband are keeping something a bit unorthodox: Honey bees. "In a grid down situation those bees become not just food for us, but they become money that we can barter for," said Harrison. "Those bees are the essence of resilience for us."

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Courtesy of October Films
This Scientist's Idea of the 'Perfect' Human Body Is Kind of Terrifying
Courtesy of October Films
Courtesy of October Films

The perfect human body has the legs of an ostrich, the heart of a dog, and the eyes of an octopus, according to anatomist Alice Roberts. And it’s utterly terrifying.

With the help of anatomical artist Scott Eaton and special effects designer Sangeet Prabhaker, Roberts created a life-size replica of herself that fixes many design flaws inherent to the human body, Motherboard reports. Roberts unveiled the sculpture on April 23 at the Science Museum in London. On June 13, the BBC released a documentary about the project.

Among the flaws Roberts’s sculpture corrects are humans’ inferior ears, spine, and lungs. Roberts borrowed anatomy from reptiles, birds, and other mammals to create a Frankenstein-esque creature straight from the island of Dr. Moreau.

The sculpture of Alice 2.0, left, with Alice Roberts, right
Courtesy of October Films

The sculpture has legs like an ostrich because, as Roberts says on her website, the human knee is complex and prone to failure. Like humans, ostriches are bipedal, but they are far better runners. Bird-like lungs that keep air flowing in one direction, not two, make running and other aerobic activities easier for the perfect human to manage. And a chimpanzee’s sturdier spine and a dog’s heart (which has more connected arteries, leading to lower heart attack risk) make Roberts’s alternate self more resistant to injury and disease.

Roberts’s ideal human body also has skin like a frog that can change shades based on the environment, and large, bat-like ears that amplify sound. Roberts also fixed humans’ backwards retina, which produces a natural blind spot, by borrowing from octopus eye anatomy.

Perhaps most disturbing of all is the baby head poking out of the sculpture’s marsupial pouch. Roberts says marsupial pregnancy would be far easier on the human body and more convenient for parents on the go.

“This could be a human fit for the future,” Roberts says at the end of a trailer for her BBC documentary.

[h/t Motherboard]

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iStock
Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station Are Throwing a Party for Pride Month
iStock
iStock

Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station are gearing up to celebrate Pride month in one of the world's harshest environments. On Saturday, June 9, the station will host what Hannah Valian, who deals with the center's recycling efforts, calls "one of the larger parties ever thrown" at the station.

McMurdo Station is an Antarctic research facility owned and operated by the United States. The station is more sparsely populated during Antarctica's colder autumn and winter seasons (which run from March to September), but employees tell us there's still a decent-sized LGBTQ scene to celebrate this June.

About 10 of the 133 people currently at McMurdo identify as LGBTQ, says Rachel Bowens-Rubin, a station laboratory assistant. Valian said the idea for a Pride celebration came up in May at one of the station's regular LGBTQ socials.

"Everyone got really excited about it," she tells Mental Floss via email. "So we ran with it."

Ten individuals are wearing coats while holding a rainbow-colored Pride flag. They are standing in snow with mountains in the distance.
"I hope when people see this photo they'll be reminded that LGBTQ people aren't limited to a place, a culture, or a climate," McMurdo's Evan Townsend tells Mental Floss. "We are important and valuable members of every community, even at the bottom of the world."
Courtesy of Shawn Waldron

Despite reports that this is the continent's first Pride party, none of the event's organizers are convinced this is the first Pride celebration Antarctica has seen. Sous chef Zach Morgan tells us he's been attending LGBTQ socials at McMurdo since 2009.

"The notion is certainly not new here," he says.

To Evan Townsend, a steward at the station, this weekend's Pride event is less a milestone and more a reflection of the history of queer acceptance in Antarctica.

"If anything," Townsend says, "recognition belongs to those who came to Antarctica as open members of the LGBTQ community during much less welcoming times in the recent past."

This week, though, McMurdo's employees only had positive things to say about the station's acceptance of LGBTQ people.

"I have always felt like a valued member of the community here," Morgan tells us in an email. "Most people I've met here have been open and supportive. I've never felt the need to hide myself here, and that's one of the reasons I love working here."

Saturday's celebration will feature a dance floor, photo booth, lip sync battles, live music, and a short skit explaining the history of Pride, Valian says.

"At the very least, I hope the attention our Pride celebration has garnered has inspired someone to go out and explore the world, even if they might feel different or afraid they might not fit in," Morgan says. "'Cause even on the most inhospitable place on Earth, there's still people who will love and respect you no matter who you are."

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