Sunday, May 12, 2013

7-step extreme sea survival guide

Below is an extract from the newly released Ultimate Survival Manual. Rich Johnson is a former paratrooper and demolition officer, who once survived in the desert wilderness for a year, living in a cave and eating insects. 

Find drinking water at sea
Water, water, everywhere -- and not a drop to drink? Not if you're prepared, resourceful, and willing to put effort into collecting drinkable water. And you should be: It will save your life.

Trap moisture
Outfit your vessel with a plastic tarpaulin to catch rainwater and drain it into containers, allowing the first drops of rain to wash the salt off the tarpaulin. If you don't have a tarpaulin, use fabric to absorb moisture, then wring it out into containers. Never drink saltwater—it will make you ill and speed dehydration and death.
Pull a "MacGyver"
When you've been adrift at sea for a period of time, all your clothes end up encrusted with salt crystals. At the first sign of rain, give all your clothes and other fabric a seawater bath. Yes, it's salty, but not as salty as the salt residue, which will make any water it contacts undrinkable.
If you have sails, make a bowl out of them to capture the water. Tarps, shirts, plastic sheets, and even the raft itself can all collect water. Any can, bottle, or other container can store it. The first water you collect will have a high salt content, so store it separately, and use it to clean wounds or to wash food before eating.
Orient yourself by the stars
Seek the North Pole
 To find Polaris, the prominent star that's close to the north celestial pole, look for the famous pattern of stars called the Big Dipper or the Plough in the constellation Ursa Major. Mentally draw a line connecting the stars at the end of the Big Dipper's "bowl," then extend that line out five times its length to arrive at Polaris. It's hard to miss, since it's the brightest star in Ursa Minor, or the Little Dipper.
Seek the South Pole
Traveling below the equator? Find the Southern Cross's long axis and extend a line down four and a half times the axis length. Then locate the bright stars Rigil Kent and Hadar to the left of the Southern Cross. Figure the midpoint between these two stars, then imagine a perpendicular line from that point to the end of the line drawn from the Southern Cross. That intersection marks the South Pole.

Catch fish in open waters
If you're in a life raft, small fish often gather beneath the raft, either out of curiosity or because they feel sheltered there. Who knows? But catching those fish might satisfy your need for nourishment. Troll a hand-line with a hook and anything flashy to serve as a lure. Jig the lure up and down a few meters below the surface, being careful not to snag the life raft with the hook. After catching a fish, use the guts as bait to catch more.

Avoid shark bites
Sharks don't usually hunt people as a food source, which is why most shark bites stop there: Once the shark realizes you're not a nice blubbery seal, it leaves you alone. Unfortunately, that little "mistake" isn't all that little for the human on the receiving end of those chompers. Here's how to avoid those nasty bites:
Cede the sea
While there certainly are open-ocean predators, most shark threats are in the shallows and near food sources. Coral reefs are popular hangouts -- and happen to be the most desirable dive sites. If you're diving in these areas, be aware of the shark risk before you enter the water, and dive with at least one partner, as sharks are less likely to mess with a group.
Get away
If you do suddenly find yourself in close quarters with one of these beasts, your best bet is to get out of the water, swimming away with smooth, even strokes that won't attract its attention.
Face your foe
When a shark wants to eat you, you'll know in advance: It will hunch its back, lower its fins, and rush at you in a zigzag. Thrust your spear gun, camera housing, knife, or whatever else you're packing to discourage it. If you can, punch its super-sensitive nose or stab at its eyes or gills.
Divers report successful evasion by descending to the seafloor and waiting for the sharks to leave. But that only works if you've got an air tank.

Right a capsized boat
Small sailboats capsize easily, but luckily, they're easy to right. Crawl up onto the overturned hull, grab the centerboard (keel), and lean back, using your weight against the centerboard as a lever to flip the boat over.
When it's upright, crawl aboard and bail out the water. If your capsized boat is a motorboat without a centerboard, righting it will take a bit more doing. Tie one end of a rope to something secure in the middle of the boat, like an oarlock. Toss the free end of the rope up onto the hull.
Crawl onto the hull to grab the free end of the rope, facing the side where the rope is tied. Back up toward the water and lean back, using your weight against the rope to pull the boat over. Once it's upright, scramble on and start bailing.

Put out a boat fire
A fire on a boat is a life-threatening catastrophe, so it's wise to have a plan in place before you leave shore.
Step one: Store fresh fire extinguishers in locations near the galley and the engine compartment, the two most likely locations for fire.
Step two: If fire breaks out, move everyone out of the cabin and get them into life vests. Call VHF channel 16 to report the emergency. Prepare to abandon ship.
Step three: Fight the fire with extinguishers, keeping a clear escape route behind you at all times. Always extinguish fires from the bottom up.

Plug a leak
Water is supposed to stay on the outside of a boat, but inevitably some gets inside due to rain or waves coming over the bow. That's not a big problem. However, when water invades because of a leak, the problem becomes quite real.
Find the trouble spot
Your top priority is to locate the leak. If you can't find it, head for dry land fast. Check to see that the boat's drain plug is closed -- if it's open, that's your culprit.
Heal your hull
If the leak is caused by a failed through-hull fitting, stop it with a conical soft-wood plug that should be tethered to the hull.
Protect with plastic
If the hull is fractured due to impact, place a large plastic sheet across the leak on the outside of the hull. Secure the plastic with ropes. Water pressure will help hold it in place as you carefully head for land.
Use old faithful
If all else fails, you can repair small cracks with duct tape.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Startups founded by moms/women,0,6956094.story?page=2

Technology investors say they have seen a sharp jump in the number of Los Angeles-area start-ups founded by women. Here are a few:

Big Frame: Digital media company that helps grow YouTube audiences and connect them with advertisers. Co-founder: Sarah Penna. Culver City; 30 employees.
DogVacay: Online community where members post openings in their homes for pet-sitting and book pet-sitters. Co-founder: Karine Nissim Hirschhorn. Santa Monica; 33 employees.
Maker Studios: Digital media company and multi-channel network of online content. Co-founder: Lisa Donovan. Culver City; more than 300 employees.
Moonfrye: Online community for families; developing a do-it-yourself parenting app. Co-founders: Soleil Moon Frye and Kara Nortman. Looking for L.A. office space; eight employees.
Nasty Gal: Online retailer of edgy clothing for young women. Founder: Sophia Amoruso. Downtown Los Angeles; 300 employees.
NuOrder: Online wholesale platform for the fashion industry that streamlines the buying process. Co-founder: Olivia Skuza. West Hollywood; 40 employees.
Pose: Mobile app that enables users to browse and shop for the latest fashion and beauty trends. Co-founder: Alisa Gould-Simon. Santa Monica; 13 employees.
PromoJam: Social marketing platform that helps users create customized online promotions. Co-founder: Amanda MacNaughton. Venice; 10 employees.
Shop Hers: Online marketplace where users can sell and buy pre-owned luxury items. Co-founders: Jaclyn Shanfeld and Jenna Stahl. Santa Monica; five employees.
Tradesy: Fashion resale website and app to sell and buy pre-owned women's clothing. Founder: Tracy DiNunzio. Santa Monica; 22 employees.

Here's a snapshot of the top 10 fastest-growing businesses and their leaders from the list:

No. 1: Shazi Visram, Happy Family in New York, N.Y.
Launched in 2006, Happy Family makes packaged organic meals and snacks for all age groups. It reported gross revenues of $63 million last year.
No. 2: Kathy Mills, Strategic Communications in Louisville, Ky.
Strategic Communications provides communication and IT services to business and government clients. Between 2010 and 2012, its gross revenues grew 80 percent to $42 million.
No. 3: Shelly Sun, BrightStar Franchising LLC in Gurnee, Ill.
The health-care staffing franchisor was founded in 2002 and now counts over 250 locations across the U.S. and $212 million in gross revenues.
Related: How to Find Funds to Launch a Franchise
No. 4: Tiffany Crenshaw, Intellect Resources in Greensboro, N.C.
Intellect Resources provides consulting, recruiting and hiring solutions for businesses in the health-care IT market. Its gross revenues climbed from $1.5 million in 2010 to $30 million last year.
No. 5: June Ressler, Cenergy International Services LLC in Houston, Texas
Founded by Ressler in 1996, Cenergy provides workforce solutions such as consulting and logistics management to clients in the oil and gas industry. It reported nearly $250 million in gross revenues in 2012.
No. 6: Sue Bhatia, Rose International Inc. in Chesterfield, Mo.
Rose International, an IT professional services and consulting firm, was founded in 1993. Between 2010 and 2012, its gross revenues grew more than 50 percent to $360 million.
No. 7: Anita Emoff, Boost Technologies in Dayton, Ohio
Specializing in employee wellness, recognition and awards, Boost Technologies reported $17 million in gross revenues last year, up from less than $1 million in 2008.
No. 8: Kathleen Croddick, Suite K of South Brunswick, N.J.
Founded and run by Croddick, Suite K Value Added Services LLC manufactures beauty products such as fragrances, creams and lotions. Its gross revenues grew more than 150 percent between 2010 and 2012 to $13 million.
No. 9: Lani Hay, Lanmark Technology in Vienna, Va.
Lanmark Technology provides professional services such as IT and administrative support to clients in the government and commercial sectors. It reported gross revenues of $35 million in 2012.
No. 10: Ranjini Poddar, Artech Information Systems LLC in Cedar Knolls, N.J.
With gross revenues of nearly $350 million, Artech is the largest women-owned IT staffing company in the U.S., according to WPO.

Woman entrepreneurs to watch in 2013:

Disney Story App: photo story
UrbanSitter: baby-sitter finder
BabyJunk: used baby goods
ActivityHero: camps, classes, and activities for kids
Timbuktu: iPad magazine for children
TinkerLab: creative projects for kids
KitchenKid: culinary school for children
CitrusLane: care packages
ToyTalk: family entertainment