Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by (Q), Mar 1, 2003.

  1. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    The Situation

    It is approximately 10 a.m. in mid-August and you have just crashed landed in the Sonora Desert in the southwestern United States. The light twin-engine plane, containing the bodies of the pilot and the co-pilot, has completely burned. Only the airframe remains. None of the rest of you has been injured.

    The pilot was unable to notify anyone of your position before the crash. However, he had indicated before impact that you were 70 miles south-southwest from a mining camp that is the nearest known habitation, and that you were approximately 65 miles off the course that was filed in your VFR Flight Plan.

    The immediate area is quite flat and, except for occasional barrel and saguaro cacti, appears to be rather barren. The last weather report indicated the temperature would reach 110 degrees F. that day. You are dressed in light weight clothing – short-sleeved shirts, pants, socks and street shoes. Everyone has a handkerchief. Collectively, your pockets contain $2.83 in change, $85.00 in bills, a pack of cigarettes, and a ballpoint pen.

    The Challenge

    Before the plane caught fire your group was able to salvage 15 items. Your task is to rank these items according to their importance to your survival, starting with “1” as the most important, to “15” as the least important. You can assume that the entire group has agreed to stick together and that all items salvaged are in good condition.


    Flashlight (4 battery size)
    Sectional air map of the area
    Plastic raincoat (large size)
    Magnetic compass
    Compress kit with gauze
    .45 caliber pistol (loaded)
    Parachute (red and white)
    Bottle of salt tablets (1000 tablets)
    1 quart of water per person
    Book entitled, Edible Animals of the Desert
    Pair of sunglasses per person
    2 quarts of 180 proof vodka
    1 topcoat per person
    Cosmetic mirror
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  3. static76 The Man, The Myth, The Legend Registered Senior Member

    1) 1 quart of water per person
    2) Sectional air map of the area
    3) Jackknife (need a tool)
    4) .45 caliber pistol (loaded)
    5) Compress kit with gauze
    6) Flashlight (4 battery size)
    7) Magnetic compass
    8) Bottle of salt tablets (1000 tablets)
    9) Parachute (red and white)
    10)2 quarts of 180 proof vodka
    11)1 topcoat per person
    12)Plastic raincoat (large size)
    13)Pair of sunglasses per person
    14)Cosmetic mirror
    15)Book entitled, Edible Animals of the Desert
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  5. Bridge Registered Senior Member

    1. water
    2. mirror
    3. jackknife
    4. pistol
    5. top coat
    6. rain coat
    7. sunglasses
    8. compass
    9. parachute
    10. the rest of it, not important what order.

    Strategy for survival: Dig in until nightfall. It's approx 10 degrees cooler once you dig down a couple of feet into the sand. Use parachute for shade. Go sparingly on water. Don't drink booze, causes dehydration. Head due north at dusk, attempt to find a secondary road that may lead either to a highway or an outpost. Going south (Mexico) just leads to more wilderness.

    Assuming the cigarettes are not just for looks, I should have a lighter and/or matches. Share the warmth of top coat to hope fully spare evereyone immediate hypothermia. If possible, before daybreak, find scrub or dead wood for signal fire, smoke, etc. Mirror can reach 60 to 80 miles depending on elevation, use sun reflection off mirror to reach any low flying aircraft. The coats for warmth at night. The plastic raincoat may provide some moisture by inverting and drawing off dew, depending on the conditions. The .45, if you're lucky and a good shot, might come in handy for snagging small game or a wild pig or something. I'd say you have maybe three nights max before you're looking at becoming a coyote snack. On second thought maybe I will carry the vodka.
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  7. Neville Registered Senior Member

    Q where did you get this puzzle from??

    P.S I know the 'correct' order (according to experts).
  8. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

  9. Neville Registered Senior Member

    I cant remember them off hand Q. I did it as part of my course. Looking at your list it is slightly different from the one i had. if i remember correctly the chances of being found are so slim that the best chance of survival is to try to make your way out. I cant remember the specifics but this would be my top 4:

    1- Water
    2- Raincoat (to catch water if there is any and keep you warm at night)
    3- Sunglasses (to protect your eyes and maybe used as a reflector should you need to attract attention from a plane etc.)
    4- Compress kit with Gauze- any injuries involving blood loss will cause a great deal of fluid loss

    Water is most important because you cant survive for long without it but you can survive for quite some time without food hence leaving out the knife and the book.

    I would look at the map and use the compass to choose a direction before i set off (

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    ) although it is still possible to lose your way. The mirror would be good to start a fire to keep you warm at night but i would use my sunglasses!

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    (in my roleplay this works and i survive)

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  10. Neutrino_Albatross Legion of Dynamic Discord Registered Senior Member

    My Guess

    First of all stay where you are. 70 miles is a long way to walk, you wont be moving very fast, and you can only travel when its dark (and it doesnt stay dark long in august). If you stay where you are you wont exert yourself as much so you wont need as much food or water so your lifspan increases. A search will be sent based on your flight plan and even though i dont know exacly how thats done im sure that 65 miles off course you'd be found.

    1. Water - Obviously
    2. Salt Tablets - Ive heard that they're damn useful in the desert i just cant remember why.
    3. Parshcute - Good sourse of shade, and should be visible from the air
    4. Mirror - Use as reflector to signal passing planes, dont know if it would work but id try anyway.
    5. Flashlight - use like the mirror except at night
    6. Coat - keep warm at night
    7. Knife - a useful enough tool that im sure id find something to do with it
    8. Sunglasses - nice to have
    9. Gun - I highly doubt that anyone in this group could actualy bring down an animal with a pistol at long range, but might be used as another signal method.
    10. Raincoat - Nothing i can think of, but might find something
    11. Book of edible animals - Not likely to actualy catch one of them.
    12. Map - not going anywhere, dont need to know how to get there.
    13. Compass - see #12
    14. Vodka - probaly cause more harm than good
  11. Neville Registered Senior Member

    I had to go along with my group decision on this but it tuned out that the experts placed this last (if i remember correctly)

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    . The majority of my group decided that putting salt in the water will help your body to retain fluids but this wasnt true. Maybe putitng some salt on a rock will attract a creature which licks salt. You could the kill it and eat it, if its in your nice shiny book.

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  12. spacemanspiff czar of things Registered Senior Member

    i heard that ingesting salt makes you retain water.

    how importantt the objects are all depends on your strategy for survival. stay put or try to move.

    or try to fix the plane if you're MacGuyver

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  13. pumpkinsaren'torange Registered Senior Member

  14. Neville Registered Senior Member

    lol@ spacemanspliff.

    Thats what my group thought but apparently it isnt true.

    Over-analysing is a subjects processing of information only on ethat goes too far. The subject over analyses. The subject analyses overly.

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    Is considering possibilities and imagining what the situation would really be like 'over analysing'? I dont think so.
  15. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member


    if i remember correctly the chances of being found are so slim that the best chance of survival is to try to make your way out.

    One of my partners in the test was an ex-navy specialist (or so he thought.) We both argued this point. He agreed with you and thought the best solution would be to make your way out. Apparently he was wrong according to the experts.
  16. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    BTW - If anyone who posts their answers would like a copy of the list, please PM me and I will send it to you.
  17. Q25 Registered Senior Member

    rule #1,sit tight,stay with the airplane,make yourself comfortable,watch your step,avoid scorpions,snakes,preserve bodily fluids,energy,stay in the shade,make shelter,
    if your pilot filled a flight plan,
    when your airplane is overdue at the destination,the search and rescue team should start looking for you very shortly,
    also all aircraft are equiped with ELT=emergency locator transmiter
    which starts sending out a SOS signal as soon as the plane crashes,this lasts for at least two days or until battery runs down,
    any airliner overflying anywhere within 1000 miles radius or more will hear this and call the air trafic control centre.

    if you had no flight plan,,you have a nice walk ahead of you

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    btw cactus have lot of water inside,just cut of the thorns and the skin off and enjoy.

    also you might want to read a good book on survival in the desert before traveling anywhere.
  18. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member


    Thanks for the summary however, the challenge is to rank the 15 items in order of importance.

    There is no ELT - the plane burned.
  19. Weiser_Dub Registered Senior Member

    Ah, another morning in the desert...

    I think I'll make a fire, a really big one. Then, my parachute will be blown up by all the hot air from the fire, and act as a hot air balloon, except that it's stationary. But, that's the big red and white O in my SOS. Once we've done that, spell the S's on each side using wood, plane parts... Once the S.O.S. is done, it's time to shoot my compadres, steal their water, and wait it out while I get drunk on vodka and read my new favorite book. Since I've eaten dirt before, and it probably contains many valuable nutrients, why not go that route again. Might be fun. Or, hmm, wait, it's a desert, maybe, just maybe there are dead animals lying about. Woohoo. No gun even necessary (food wise), but damn did that book come in handy.

    Oh, and, salt makes you THIRSTY. You don't need that when you're in the desert.
  20. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    1. 2 quarts of 180 proof vodka:
    you first start of by drinking all the wodka. This way you do not have to worry about it anymore and if you resqued quickly at least you had some fun.
    2. Sectional air map of the area
    Use the map to light the first fire. As everyone knows always the wrong person reads the map. A person who can't read maps. You are better of without it.
    3. .45 caliber pistol (loaded)
    Dig a deep hole and drop the pistol in it. Loaded guns are dangerous and we don't want to kill ourselves or our mates accidentily before we are resqued. If the resque is taking a long time dig the pistol up and shoot someone you would like to eat.
    4. Parachute (red and white)
    would make a great sign to be seen from the air, or one could make kites from it to pass the time in an enjoyable manner.
    5. Cosmetic mirror
    you want to look good at all times because the press chopper will always arrive before the resque helicopter.
    6. Pair of sunglasses per person
    if they are a fashionable model keep them, otherwise toss them away. What kind of impression do you want to make during your 15 minutes of fame?
    7. Magnetic compass
    you are probably somewhere in the exact middle of nowhere and therefore it doesn't matter in which direction you go once you decide that you are not going to be resqued and that you have to resque yourself to get your face on tv.
    8.Plastic raincoat (large size)
    it always rains if you do not have a raincoat on you. Therefore if you want to work on your tan, keep the raincoat. It will not rain. If you need water, throw the raincoat will rain soon.
    9. Jackknife
    this item is inseparable with item no 10.
    10. Compress kit with gauze
    be prepared to use this item when you use the knife.
    11.Book entitled, Edible Animals of the Desert
    some light reading for if you feel a bit bored
    12. Flashlight (4 battery size)
    for reading during the night since nights could be boring if you can't find anyone willing to share your bunk.
    13. 1 quart of water per person
    put some salt in and make some light soup
    14 Bottle of salt tablets (1000 tablets)
    use with the water
    15 1 topcoat per person
    coats are for whimps.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2003
  21. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member

    Any more takers?

    I would like to have heard from some of the more analytical members: James, chroot, lethe, Cris, Mr.G, Crisp. Xev

    Could you survive if forced into this scenario?
  22. Xev Registered Senior Member

    I agree. I'd stay with the plane - the pilot should be following a fixed flight path, and they'll be trying to track the plane. Also, it's way fuckin' easier to find a plane than to find a group of people.

    70 miles is a long way to walk through the desert. And unless somebody knows how to read that sectional air map, chances of getting lost are good.

    If I had to move, I'd move at night, when the desert is cold and I can navigate by the stars. But I'd rather stay with the plane and wait to be rescued.

    That said:

    The money is good only for lighting fires or making oragami when I get bored. The pen could be a useful tool.

    I can get water by digging into the roots of the cacti.

    Now, my goals are going to be two: survive as long as possible without resorting to cannibalism, and signaling the rescuers. So by day I want to use the parachute to signal, by night I want to use fire.

    1 quart of water per person

    Most important. Cacti don't have a lot of water stored, and killing my co-passengers is not an option.

    Parachute (red and white)

    I'll use this to signal. I can light a fire under it, the heat will force it to inflate and it'll be a good, large signal. Also, since white is reflective, it will be easier to spot.


    I can imagine I'd need this for a lot of things.

    Cosmetic mirror:

    Starting fires. Unless I get to keep my glasses, then I rank it at the very bottom of importance.

    Plastic raincoat (large size):

    I'd spread this out for a signal.

    Bottle of salt tablets (1000 tablets):

    Salt makes you dehydrated, however, it would make the fire more vivid.

    1 topcoat per person:

    Fire starting, but best used for the nightime, when the temp drops.

    .45 caliber pistol (loaded)

    People in survival situations tend to be calm (the idea that they riot after earthquakes is a myth), however, I have a low enough opinion of humans to realize that I'll have to be in control of the situation, and that there is a possibility of them trying to kill each other.

    Flashlight (4 battery size):

    Useful for nightime and perhaps signaling.

    2 quarts of 180 proof vodka:

    Again, useful for fires, and possibly for dressing wounds.

    Compress kit with gauze:

    Useful, but gauze can be improvised.

    Magnetic compass:

    Useful only if worst comes to worse and I have to move out.

    Book entitled, Edible Animals of the Desert:

    Man, all them motherfuckers could be eaten. However, it might have extranuous information that would prove useful.

    Sectional air map of the area:


    Pair of sunglasses per person:

    Useful. But not of life and death importance.

    So is there a "correct" solution I could see?
  23. (Q) Encephaloid Martini Valued Senior Member


    Have you listed the 15 articles in order of importance?

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