crusoe's island


Happily Marooned.

At El Nido Lagen Island Resort, Northern Palawan, Philippines. Sandwiched between a lush forest and a calm lagoon is not a bad place to be. Especially after an hour-long ride on a tiny plane. Just as I think we are about to land, the plane swoops down and flies back into the air. “Too many carabaos on the runway”, complains the pilot.  I catch a glimpse of a harassed farmer shooing the water-buffaloes away. This is the Pilipinas. An idyllic country I called home for 6 years. An archipelago of 7,107 islands at low tide. At high tide, who knows? All that matters is that the sea surrounding the islands is a bright turquoise. 

Of Palawan’s stunning El Nido resorts, we pick Lagen for its closeness to the massive limestone cliffs rising out of the sea. The rooms are on stilts in water. We spend our days kayaking around the islands, deep-sea fishing and mindless-gazing at the resident school of clown fish in the marina.

Most memorable experience? Getting “marooned” on an uninhabited island, Robinson Crusoe-style.  The staff drop us off with kayaks and snorkels and disappear, returning only to deliver meals by motor-boat. Imagine “owning” one of the 7,107 islands for a whole day!

@ VJ Singh | Far/Back | 2004

Juan Fernández Firecrown (Sephanoides fernandensis)

…a critically endangered species of hummingbird (Trochillidae) which is endemic to the Robinson Crusoe Island, part of a three-island archipelago which belongs to Chile. Juan Fernández Firecrowns typically inhabit forests, thickets and gardens and like most hummingbirds feed primarily on nectar, preferring the flowers of Dendroseris litoralis and Rhaphithamnus venustus. However, thy are also known to take insects and other arthropods as well.  Like the closely related green-backed firecrown (S. sephanoides) Juan Fernández Firecrowns are known to hang from flower petals or leaves by its feet while feeding. 

Currently Sephanoides fernandensis is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN as its population has been in a general decline for years. This is thought to be due to habitat destruction, the destruction of native flora, the invasion of species like Rubus ulmifolius and Aristotelia chilensis and the introduction of predators like cats. 


Animalia-Chordata-Aves-Trochiliformes-Trochilidae-Sephanoides-S. fernandensis

Image: Héctor Gutiérrez Guzmán

anonymous asked:

I've got finals coming up in a few weeks, do you have any tips, or things you like to do to get ready for finals?

slytherin mod and i are very, very different personalities. i wear short skirts, she wears sneep snop, etc. i’m sure she’ll post a followup as to how she studies later, but here is gryffindor mod’s way of doing things. 


Buy cute things! Find cute things! Use cute things! I hated studying, until I made it novel with lots of different colours, notebooks, index cards, and even those weird see-through plastic sticky notes that I literally had no idea I’d even acquired. The moment you get into the mindset that studying is something enjoyable, something fun, and something you want to do, then you’ll do better!


Print out a photo of your ideal college, or a summer camp you want to be able to apply to, or the place you’re going to over the summer. Put it somewhere where you can see it when you’re studying, and look upon it in times of need. Make yourself feel like you’re really working towards something, and that you’re going to make it in the end. Suffer now, summit later. 


I learn more by making notes than I do from actually studying, as I tend to have a good memory for what I have written. So I started studying for my GCSEs by rewriting the notes I had from my Mocks, and then condensing all those notes onto little index cards. It really makes those facts stick. 


Lock yourself in your room. Disable Facebook. Block Tumblr. You are single-minded and driven in your cause to ace these exams! Think of yourself like Tony Stark trying to build his new Iron Suit, or like Robinson Crusoe trapped on his island – when you do get out, everything will feel so much better because you worked for it. 


Tests, tests, tests, tests, tests! When I studied for my final maths exams, I didn’t even bother doing any revision, I just did three to five GCSE past papers a day (here) and got used to the question styles, the mark schemes, and the content. Every exam is just a variation of each other, they’re not wholly different, intrinsically. If you do the past papers and then mark them, you know exactly what you don’t know, what you do know, and how to change that. 


You’re in exam season! Congrats! You’re working hard, playing hard, and you deserve every damn bite of chocolate you can find. Studying is exhaustive, and don’t forget to make time for yourself once in a while, even if it’s just a short nap or an episode of Drag Race. You can do it! 

Lt. Canaris Returns from Spain

Wilhelm Canaris (1887-1945), pictured in the late 1920′s.  He would later head German Military Intelligence (Abwehr) under the Nazis, until arrested and executed for his role in the July 20 plot against Hitler.

October 1 1916, Cartagena–The German East Asia Squadron, once based out of Tsingtao, had long since been scattered and sunk.  The bulk of it had been lost at the Battle of the Falkland Islands, with only a few survivors captured by the British.  The Königsberg had been scuttled in the Rufiji Delta, with its guns and sailors now aiding Lettow-Vorbeck’s campaign in the southern third of German East Africa.  The last survivor, the Dresden, was scuttled on Robinson Crusoe Island and its crew interned by the Chilean government in March 1915.  One of her officers, Lt. Wilhelm Canaris, a fluent Spanish-speaker, was able to escape from internment in August, making his way over the Andes to Argentina by boat and horse.  The German embassy in Buenos Aires was able to get him a fake Chilean passport and passage to Rotterdam, and was able to make it back to Germany by October despite an unexpected stop in Plymouth.

This escapade captured the attention of German naval intelligence, who recruited him for service in Spain.  He helped to organize supply of German U-boats in the Western Mediterranean, and reported on Allied shipping targets.   He attempted to return to Germany via Switzerland in February 1916, but was prevented from doing so by Italian police and was forced to return to Spain (his escape aided by the fact that Italy and Germany were not officially at war at the time).  

The submarine campaign in the Mediterranean was immensely successful; on October 1, the Kaiser congratulated his submariners for sinking over a million tons of shipping there.  However, by this time, Canaris’ usefulness in Spain was growing limited, as the British had become aware of Canaris’ role.  On the night of October 1, Canaris and another intelligence agent left the port of Cartagena in a sailing vessel, then transferred to U-35 (whose cruise in July and August had singlehandedly accounted for 9% of the German haul of Allied shipping in the Mediterranean).

Today in 1915: Advance Allied Parties Land at Salonika Amid Greek Confusion
Today in 1914: German Ground Assault on Antwerp Begins

Inside the Spaceflight of ‘The Martian’

by Michael Greshko, Inside Science

Andy Weir is a cruel god, and his work has just hit the big screen.

In The Martian, his technically brilliant novel, Weir strands an astronaut named Mark Watney alone on Mars—and then proceeds to pummel him with survival tests. How is he going to eat? How will he keep warm, amid average temperatures that hover around -55 degrees Celsius (-67 degrees Fahrenheit)? Even Mars’ recently discovered briny flows would come to bear. “If I were writing [the book] again,” said Weir, “they’d be a hazard…That’d be cool.”

While the book and film adaptation—which premiered last week—get compared to Robinson Crusoe and Apollo 13 on the grounds of surviving hostile conditions, another component often gets downplayed: the rescue. Crusoe gets off his island with the help of a British ship captain nearly deposed in a mutiny. Apollo 13 safely touches down on Earth because of the heroic joint efforts of the astronauts on board and mission control. And as the film’s posters point out, it’s one thing to see Watney (played in the movie by Matt Damon) survive. It’s quite another to BRING HIM HOME.

But how do the characters in The Martian escape the god of war—and Weir? Find out below.

Keep reading


Welcome back to the Penguin Teen Author Spotlight, and a special welcome to today’s guest, the lovely Stephanie Perkins! We swooned over ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, but ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER just might be our favorite. This international love story (Paris! New York! Barcelona!) has us believing in true love all over again. For more on Steph and her next project, be sure to read on…


Name: Stephanie Perkins


Available: August 14, 2014


Who’s your favorite author, living or dead?

J.K. Rowling


What’s your favorite thing about your book?

That it’s finished.


If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose?

Definitely someone like Robinson Crusoe, who has deserted-island experience. WAIT. Scratch that! Dumbledore. He could apparate me back to my house. (Living on a deserted island sounds terrible to me.)


Where do you write?

I write on a coral-pink desk in my lime-green office. I’ve never been able to work in coffee shops or on the road.


Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history?

This is tough, because everyone is flawed, and the further back you go, the more troubling some of those flaws become. But I do like Oscar Wilde. He was incredibly brave.


Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted?

Yes! I’m @naturallysteph. I couldn’t possibly guess, but the funniest thing would have been a re-tweet (as opposed to something *I* said). I follow a lot of comedians.  


What is your favorite season?

Autumn. The great pumpkin.


If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go?

I would stay right where I am. I’m a homebody. This *is* my universe.


Do you have any writing rituals?

I’m easily distractible, so: Noise-canceling headphones on. Freedom for Mac on. Phone off.


What is your idea of earthly happiness?

Reading a good book in bed. Falling asleep and then picking it right back up as soon as I awaken.


What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?

Sigur Rós, the Tabernacle in Atlanta. Early ‘00s. The beauty of the band and the old building—which is hand-painted in roses and stars and other marvelous things—was absolutely astounding.


What are you currently working on?

A teen slasher. Blood! Sex! Death! It’s not very subtle, but it is a ton of fun.



Steph, we are excited for the slasher, but promise us you won’t stop writing love stories!

For daily updates and re-tweets, check out Stephanie’s Twitter and personal website.

Add ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!



Birds play very important roles in their ecosystems! For example, this endemic Juan Fernandez Firecrown (Sephanoides fernandensis),  found only on Robinson Crusoe Island in Chile, is dusted in pollen and pollinates plants as he flies from flower to flower searching for nectar.

This rare bird is threatened by invasive species present on the island, which destroy the native habitat the firecrown depends on for survival.

Pictured here is a male firecrown

  • Photo: Rory Stansbury

Set against a backdrop of politics, family, and first love, The Wrong Side of Right is a story of personal responsibility, complicated romance, and trying to discover who you are even as everyone tells you who you should be. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Huntley Fitzpatrick will enjoy this smart debut young adult novel, equal parts My Life Next Door and The Princess Diaries—plus a dash of Aaron Sorkin.  Penguin Teen Author Spotlight proudly introduces Jenn Marie Thorne, the author behind this debut novel. Stick around to get to know more about her!

Name: Jenn Marie Thorne 

Novel: The Wrong Side of Right 

Available: 3/17/2015 

Who’s your favorite author, living or dead? It’s so hard for me to play favorites, but I’ll go with Shakespeare, for the inventiveness of his language and the sheer volume of his work. 

What’s your favorite thing about your book? I had a lot of fun mixing grounded character moments that hit home for me personally with high-flying campaign strategy—the sound bites, the policies, the speeches. I really enjoyed pretending to be a politico. 

If you could spend one year on a deserted island with one character from literature, who would you choose? Tropical island? Robinson Crusoe. I have very few practical skills. I’m gonna need somebody there with prior experience or there’s no way I’ll last the year. Cold island, like, say, off the coast of Scotland? Jamie Fraser. (Don’t tell my present-day husband.) 

Where do you write? All over the place. I have a lovely office workspace that I hardly ever use. I stow my laptop in random places throughout the house and type “a quick note” as I walk by, and then I look up and an hour has passed. 

Who is your favorite hero or heroine of history? Okay, so he probably didn’t exist, but since I suspect all historical figures are largely fictionalized anyway, I’ll go with King Arthur. What he accomplished in a short lifetime is astonishing, uniting a motley collection of feuding warlords, bringing peace and culture and a code of ethics—civilization itself—to an island ruled by chaos. The fact that it all fell to the Saxons as soon as he died is just a testament to how monumental his achievement was. (Confession: I’m sort of obsessed with Arthurian legend.) 

Do you tweet? What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever tweeted? I don’t just tweet—I hang out on Twitter. It’s like the employee lounge for an imaginary office building full of authors. I’m sure I’ve tweeted funny things, but whenever I’m particularly pleased with something I’ve posted, it’s met with crickets. And then I’ll tweet, like, “Man, I love cookies,” and get fourteen favorites and twenty RTs. 

What is your favorite season? Summer. Long days, heat, shimmery insect sounds, splashing around in various bodies of water? Love it. 

If you could teleport anywhere in the known universe right now, where would you go? Necker Island, BVI, because I think my fancy teleportation abilities would be enough to convince Richard Branson that I’m a delightful and fascinating party guest, rather than a pleb trespasser. Plus, I’m not seeing anything here about teleporting back, so maybe Richard Branson could help me with my airfare. 

Do you have any writing rituals? More of a habit than a ritual, but I always start by futzing with words and punctuation from whatever I’ve last written. They’re completely useless edits, but they ease me into working while the creative side of my brain wakes up for the day. It usually only takes a few minutes. 

What is your idea of earthly happiness? Idle time. Oh man, I miss having nothing to do but daydream—preferably someplace warm, with a cool beverage at hand and a view of light shining on water. 

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? This is the hardest question in this entire interview. I remember being blown away by Rodrigo y Gabriela at a big festival concert in LA with a bunch of other bands. I was mostly there to see Lily Allen and Travis, but they were the act that made my jaw drop. 

What are you currently working on? I’m between drafts of a companion novel to The Wrong Side of Right and playing with two other projects, another contemporary and a high fantasy.


Thank you, Jenn Marie! We are looking forward to the companion novel!

You can find Jenn Marie Thorne on her website and Twitter!

Add The Wrong Side of Right to your “to-read” shelf on Goodreads!

Purchase from your favorite retailer!