The Post-Apocalypse Survival Machine Nerd Farm

A Polish-born nuclear physicist and his small band of acolytes are holed up in Missouri farm country, working on a “civilization starter kit.” Is this the future of American innovation?
Photograph by Michael Friberg

Marcin Jakubowski sits cross-legged on the dirt floor of a round hut in Missouri farm country, carefully making an open-faced mayo and cheddar sandwich. Inside the hut there’s a bed, a small desk, a few plastic containers (including one for food), and, occasionally, mice and snakes. It’s 104F out and only slightly cooler inside. There’s no fridge, so just how the mayonnaise hasn’t spoiled is something of a mystery. Jakubowski, who’s of average height and extremely fit, wears khakis and a long-sleeve oxford shirt. “What we are doing here is conducting a civilization reboot experiment,” he says. He carefully places cheddar shreds on top of the mayo, squirts the works with Sriracha hot sauce in a precise cross-hatch pattern, bites, chews. “It’s about sustainable living and having open access to critical information and tools.”

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