January 8, 2014 at 11:54 pm #41791
The 300 club sounds like some kind of postnatal yuan qi LKL-like extreme exercise . . . S
On getting naked in Antarctica
The Atlantic 10 hr ago
By Svati Kirsten Narula of The Atlantic
Antarctica, as my colleague Olga Khazan explained in 2013, is basically outer space on earth. Scientists who hole up at Antarctic research stations during the continents eight-month-long winter deal with serious burdens of both the physical and mental sort: the cold is deadly, the darkness oppressive. Once cabin fever sets in, its tempting to just knock yourself out with alcohol. But one particular line in Khazans article demanded further investigation:
Occasionally, they entertained themselves with daredevil stunts, like running from a 200-degree sauna to touch the South Pole while wearing nothing but shoes.
Make no mistake: Streaking at the South Pole isnt an activity to be taken lightly. And its not something you do on a whim, after one too many shots of whiskey atClub 90 South. On the contrary, getting naked in Antarctica is a hallowed tradition that requires planning and teamwork.
The objective: to endure a temperature swing of 300 degrees Fahrenheit by warming up in a sauna, heated to 200 degrees, and then running, naked, to and around the Ceremonial South Pole when the outdoor temperature is below -100 degrees. The select few who have participated in this rite belong to an exclusive group: the 300 Club.
First, lets get you situated. The U.S. operates three research stations in Antarctica. McMurdo Station, on Ross Island, is considered the New York City of Antarctica because many visitors to the continent either go there or pass through the facility en route to another station. Palmer Station, on Anvers Island, is smaller and only accommodates 46 people at most. Then theresAmundsen-Scott, also known as the South Pole Station because its located on the Antarctic plateau at the geographic South Pole. The Ceremonial South Pole, an actual pole with a sphere on top, circled by flags of nations, stands a few hundred feet from the station. Up to 150 people work at Amundsen-Scott during the South Poles summer, which lasts roughly from November to February.Around 50 scientists and other workers stay there over the winter. Its this latter group that has the opportunity to join the 300 Club.
Kevin Bjella, now an engineer at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Alaska, spent the winters of 2001 and 2002 at Amundsen-Scott as a carpenter. His recollection of joining the 300 Club highlights the downright hazardous nature of the challenge. Its not that far of a distance from the station to the ceremonial pole, he told me, but when its dark, and a hundred below, and people are naked, the safety aspect is really huge. Most people do the challenge in groups, and usually there are helpful bystanders who line up outside the station with flashlights. A fair bit of anticipation precedes the event; the temperature only drops below -100 a few times each winter, and when it does, youve got to be ready to go.
Inside the station, key weather information is displayed on a video screen. Its usually around late July or August when the winter-overs start watching the screen more closely in anticipation of a -100 degree day. When the timing and temperature were right one weekend in 2001, Bjella recalled, he and eight otherspretty equally split, men and womenwent up to the second floor of “the dome,” the station’s iconic building that was demolished in 2009, and got in the sauna. I remember spending something like 20 minutes or half an hour in the sauna, [although] its supposed to be 200 degrees. I cant believe I spent that long in a 200-degree sauna, but maybe it was just psychological, knowing we had to really get warmed up.
And then we went and did it, wearing just our bunny boots, said Bjella, referring to the white rubber boots that the U.S. military issues for use in the extreme cold, and that nearly everyone wears in Antarctica. We put on the bunny boots and just ran out of the sauna to the floor of the dome, and then up a long ramp, like a big white snow ramp, that spans about 50 yards from the door of the dome to the ice of the Antarctic plateau.
The physiological altitude there is pretty intense, he added (the plateau is almost 10,000 feet above sea level). Despite being physically fit and having grown up at an altitude of 7,000 feet in Colorado, Bjella never really acclimated to Antarctica. The cold air and the low pressure combine to produce a physiological altitude that exceeds the 10,000-foot physical altitude and changes every day according to the barometric pressure. Even after being at the South Pole for a few months, Bjella and others still found themselves getting winded, on occasion, just by walking up and down steps. And running up the ramp to the ice during the 300 challenge was exhausting.
You get to the top of the ramp and youre winded, he recalled. And even then, participants still have about 100 yards to go to get to the Ceremonial Pole and another 100 yards to run on the way back provided they dont add extra yards to their trip by running off course.
Few 300 Clubbers are lucky enough to have their -100 degree day coincide with a full moon. This photo shows the Amundsen-Scott telescope under the moon in April 2012.Carlos Pobes, NSF, The Atlantic
Few 300 Clubbers are lucky enough to have their -100 degree day coincide with a full moon. This photo shows the Amundsen-Scott telescope under the moon in April 2012.
When Kris Perry, who lives and works in Alaska now, did the 300 challenge for the first time, he walked right past the pole. He was wearing a headlamp, but the pole was just outside the light it cast, and he didnt realize his mistake until he had missed the spot by at least 20 yards.
I never heard of anyone ever getting lost (other than myself that first time), Perry wrote to me in an email. Most folks were smart enough to have a warmly dressed body standing out at the pole with a flashlight to help them find their way. After my first solo attempt, I realized if I was going to do it solo, it was best not to wear a headlamp. Perry said he completed the challenge five times that first night alone. The first two times it had warmed up to -99 by the time I got back [to the station] and I decided that didnt count, he explained. The third time I made it back and the [temperature] was still good but I also got the idea that I wanted someone to take a picture of me with all my body hair frosty white. I found someone to take the picture and did it again just for that sake. I did it again later that night when a couple early risers wanted to get in on the action and I couldnt resist joining them.
One of the first things people wonder about when they learn of the 300 Club is the incidence of frostbite. Perry and others who have been there confirm that this is a valid concern. Perry remembers one unlucky couple from his second winter at the South Pole: [They] both suffered some minor frostbiteshe on her nipples and he on the tip of his weenie. Fortunate for her, I had gone outside to do a weather observation and saw them heading from the pole back to the station. She was moving very slowly and had probably become mildly hypothermic. I gave her my parka and helped her get back inside. I think there might have been one or two other incidents of mild frostbite on some guys weenies that winter.
It wasnt until I rounded the pole and came back that I started to get concerned about body parts, Bjella said. Thats about when one hand was covering one area and the other hand was up around the head covering the ears and the nose. As he returned to the dome and headed back into the sauna to warm up, he thought to himself, Okay, this was just about the right length. Any longer would be a little scary. He estimates he was outside for no more than three minutes.
These days, some Antarctic streakers choose to wear neck gaiters in addition to their bunny boots out of concern about the cold airs impact on their respiratory systems. Bjella said breathing cold air wasnt an issue for him. A little gulp of hundred-below air warms up really quickly once it gets in your chest, he explained. Perry noticed that 300 Clubbers coughed quite a bit in the days after exposure, and thought it prudent to avoid really running during the challenge. If you do any heavy breathing in that temperature, he noted, its very hard on your lungs and you pay for it. My rule of thumb was to walk at a steady pace with one hand covering my mouth and one hand covering the boys. I never had any coughing fits and the boys never suffered.
The exact origins of the 300 Club are unknown, but the tradition dates back to at least the winter of 1959, when Howard Redifer, who was working at the South Pole Station as a meteorologist, started the 200 Club. The winter-overs that year had built a makeshift sauna inside a large empty packing crate. Inside the crate, atop a small stool, sat a hot plate and a steam kettle with a thermometer poking out of it. Rules said you couldnt stay in there for more than 10 minutes when the temp inside the box reached 120 degrees, according to an old email exchange between Sid Tolchin, who was on site as a Naval medical officer, and Bill Spindler, who wintered at the South Pole in 1977 and now keeps track of the stations history on his website SouthPoleStation.com. Not great, but a fair substitute for the rare weekly quicknhot shower, wrote Tolchin.
According to Tolchin, when temperatures outdoors dipped below -90 degrees, Redifer would sit in the nude inside the 120-degree box and then run outside, roll in the snow, and run back to the sauna for recovery. Naturally, most of the crew of 17 at the South Pole that winter, wrote Tolchin, had to belong. If I remember correctly, [Redifer] made certificates which he awarded to each completing applicant.
The improbable existence of the 300 Club may arise from a desire to claim identity in an elite fraternity, according to medical anthropologist Lawrence Palinkas, whos based at the sunny University of Southern California but has spent decades studying the mental health effects of living in extreme environments like Antarctica and outer space. Its elite not just in the sense that people have done something very exotic and very hazardous, but it gives them an identity that very few people in the world have an opportunity to share, he told me. Furthermore, and most importantly, joining the 300 Club alongside otherswhether running on the ice together or completing the challenge at different times during the same winteroffers an opportunity for groups to grow closer. Polar expeditioners have always had certain rituals and customs that have involved activities that are somewhat hazardous but also serve the same function of providing a means of bonding together, Palinkas explained.
At the South Pole, group social dynamics can make or break the entire winter. Bjella said this reality was the hardest thing for him, personally: I didnt go down there to find out how people would act, he explained, I just wanted to experience the geographic location of the South Pole. I wanted to see the darkness, and the three-day sunrise, and the three-day sunset. But, he added, The emotions get very intense and people get very intense when they realize that theyre stranded for nine months and isolated in a very weird place the good comes out in people and the bad comes out in people, too.
Keeping a balance between being down there as an individual and being down there as a member of a group is one of the major challenges people face when theyre in a place like the South Pole, said Palinkas. Theyve all made a decision to spend an extended period of time in a very hazardous environment but one thats also very isolated and very confined. The best way to survive in an environment like this is to have established rules for relating to one another.
The National Science Foundation, which operates the U.S. Antarctic Program,officially frowns on the 300 club, according to Palinkas. That may only make the challenge more attractive, though.
Many of those who head to Antarctica looking for adventure end up disappointed, Palinkas added, but spending a winter in Antarctica does make the soul hearty (300 Club-induced frostbite aside). My earliest research in the Antarctic found a very interesting response to being isolated and confined for such a long time, he noted. Palinkas had assumed that the winter-overs, because of prolonged exposure to the stress of isolation and confinement would end up being at greater risk for stress-related illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. I found the exact oppositethey ended up being healthier after their tour of duty in the Antarctic compared to people who had the same physical and mental health status prior to the experience. People responded to Antarctica by developing increased levels of self-confidence and self-efficacy, an attitude of if I can handle this, I can handle anything.
And theres no more jarring way to boost your confidence than streaking in -100-degree weather.January 10, 2014 at 10:56 pm #41792
Tardigrades are classified as extremophiles, organisms that can thrive in a physically or geochemically extreme condition that would be detrimental to most life on Earth. For example, tardigrades can withstand temperatures from just above absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, pressures about six times stronger than pressures found in the deepest ocean trenches, ionizing radiation at doses hundreds of times higher than the lethal dose for a person, and the vacuum of outer space. They can go without food or water for more than 10 years, drying out to the point where they are 3% or less water, only to rehydrate, forage, and reproduce.
Turritopsis dohrnii, the immortal jellyfish, is a species of small jellyfish which is found in the Mediterranean and in the waters off Japan. It is unique in that it exhibits a certain form of “immortality”: it is the only known case of an animal capable of reverting completely to a sexually immature, colonial stage after having reached sexual maturity as a solitary stage.
Japanese man in mystery survival
A Japanese man has survived for 24 days in cold weather and without food and water by falling into a state of “hibernation”, his doctor has said.
Mitsutaka Uchikoshi, 35, went missing on 7 October after going with friends to climb Mount Rokko in western Japan.
He had almost no pulse, his organs had shut down and his body temperature dropped to 22C (71F) when he was found.
Medics say they are still puzzled how he survived because his metabolism was apparently almost at a standstill.
Mr Uchikoshi is believed to have tripped and lost consciousness after leaving his party to descend from the mountain on his own.
“I lay down… in a grassy area, which felt good in the sunshine, and eventually I fell asleep,” Mr Uchikoshi told reporters at a news conference at a hospital in Kobe, where he was treated.
“That’s the last thing I remember,” he said.
He was found by rescuers on 31 October.
“He fell into a hypothermic state at a very early stage, which is similar to hiberna
tion,” said Dr Shinichi Sato, who treated Mr Uchikoshi.
“Therefore, his brain functions were protected without being damaged and have now recovered 100%. This is what I believe happened,” he said.
Mr Uchikoshi – who had been treated for severe hypothermia, multiple organ failure and blood loss – was released from hospital and returned home on Tuesday.
Professor Hirohito Shiomi, a hibernation expert at a university in Hiroshima, was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying the case was “revolutionary, if the patient truly survived at such a low body temperature over such a long period of time”.
Scientists have for years suggested that human hibernation is possible, and could be used to slow cell death when treating fatal diseases.
An expert from the British Dietetic Association said that while it was possible for a person to go without food for a long time, lack of adequate fluid would rapidly lead to dehydration.
“I find it quite incredible that [Mr Uchikoshi] had no fluid at all,” Dr Frankie Phillips said. “Physiologically that isn’t possible.”January 13, 2014 at 11:22 pm #41794
The first time Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja sat in front of a bowl of soup, he didn’t know what to do. He looked carefully, cupped his hand and plunged it into the bowl. The contact with the boiling liquid made him jump and the plate ended up in little pieces on the floor. It was 1965 and he was 19, but he hadn’t sat down at a table to eat since he was a small child. He had been living for up to 12 years alone in the mountains with only wolves, goats, snakes and other animals for company.
Wim Hof was born on 20 April 1959 in the Netherlands. He is known as the ‘Iceman’ due to his astonishing ability to remain unaffected by the extreme cold. From an early age, Wim loved the cold. He often runs barefoot across freezing snow. Over the years, he has rigorously trained his body, using meditation and exercise to prepare for ice-endurance world record attempts.
Homeostasis also spelled homoeostasis or homostasis (from Greek: ὅμοιος, “hómoios”, “similar”, and στάσις, stásis, “standing still”) is the property of a system in which variables are regulated so that internal conditions remain stable and relatively constant. Examples of homeostasis include the regulation of temperature and the balance between acidity and alkalinity (pH). It is a process that maintains the stability of the human body’s internal environment in response to changes in external conditions.
A poikilotherm is an organism whose internal temperature varies considerably. It is the opposite of a homeotherm, an organism which maintains thermal homeostasis. Usually the variation is a consequence of variation in the ambient environmental temperature. Many terrestrial ectotherms are poikilothermic. However some ectotherms remain in temperature-constant environments to the point that they are actually able to maintain a constant internal temperature (i.e. are homeothermic). It is this distinction that often makes the term “poikilotherm” more useful than the vernacular “cold-blooded”, which is sometimes used to refer to ectotherms more generally. Poikilothermic animals include types of vertebrate animals, specifically fish, amphibians, and reptiles, as well as a large number of invertebrate animals. The Naked mole rat is the only mammal that is currently thought to be poikilothermic.
Despite the extremely cold climate in which they lived, early Yahgan wore little to no clothing until after their extended contact with Europeans. They were able to survive the harsh climate because: They kept warm by huddling around small fires when they could, including in their boats to stay warm. The name of “Tierra del Fuego” (land of fire) was based on the many fires seen by passing European explorers. They made use of rock formations to shelter from the elements. They covered themselves in animal grease. Over time, they had evolved significantly higher metabolisms than average humans, allowing them to generate more internal body heat.Their natural resting position was a deep squatting position, which reduced their surface area and helped to conserve heat.
I just received some time ago text message from my local bookstore that I probably will be receiving my copy of WIM HOF’s book after waiting for more than two years.
I expect that it will be at least mild disappointment, because seemingly for commercial reasons, there will be too many biographical details instead of things yogic.
In those videos which have been made in Finland, during his attempts to break various records, he has openly advertised gTUMMO-practice (caṇḍālī).
HOWDYJanuary 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm #41796
I would be interested to hearing a short review from you on this book, after you have received it and had a chance to look it over. . . . SJanuary 17, 2014 at 3:35 pm #41798
Wim Hof is of course not the only one, because there is for example that Danish guy who even has taken over one Guinness record from him.
There emphasis is with freediving and Hindu chakras & nadis.
But there of course remains question if it’s useful at all to demonstrate anything in this direction.
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