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March 15, 2012

How should you position yourself in a free-falling elevator for the best chance of survival?


Finally, something useful.

C. Claiborne Ray's "Q&A" column in Tuesday's New York Times Science section had the answer; it follows.

Q. If I find myself in a free-falling elevator, is there any position that might increase my chance of survival? (Climbing on top of other people is not an acceptable answer.)

A. The best option would be to lie on your back on the floor as flat as possible, said Eliot H. Frank, a research engineer at the Center for Biomedical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"This will distribute the force of impact over the greatest area of your body so that no particular part of your body is subjected to the weight of any other part of your body," he said.

"The impact of the elevator at the bottom of the shaft would subject you to extreme gravitational acceleration, or G-forces," Dr. Frank explained. “The number of G's you experience multiplies your normal weight, so if you experience 10 G's, you would experience 10 times the weight of your body.

"You might think that bracing yourself or bending your legs would help, but at high G-forces, your legs would simply not be able to support the weight of your body," he said. "Even the weight of your own head would be too much for your neck to support."

The folk wisdom of jumping up at the moment of impact is convincingly debunked in a "Mythbusters" video on the Discovery Channel Web site. It would not work unless you could know the precise moment of impact and leap at the same speed the elevator is plunging.

Assume the position.

Illustration up top by Victoria Roberts.

March 15, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Pocket Pencil


Is that a pencil in your pocket or...?

Screen Shot 2012-03-15 at 3.10.33 PM

Designed by Alex Hulme.

Set of two: $19.

March 15, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.





Yet a third: smaller than a bread box.

March 15, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Coat hanger with built-in blade

Screen Shot 2012-03-09 at 7.01.25 PM copy 2

Created by Grain,


it's called "Based on a True Story," and was selected for inclusion in the show "Threat: Objects for Defense and Protection."

March 15, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Encyclopedia Britannica free online for one week

To "celebrate" (?) the news that it's going out of print on paper after 244 years, Encyclopedia Britannica is making the entire contents of britannica.com available free for one week starting yesterday.

Fair warning: there goes the next week.

For those who prefer something more substantial, you can buy the final print edition — all 32 volumes containing over 65,000 articles, a total of 44 million words — for $1,395.

[via Judy Keen and USA Today]

March 15, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Toilet paper in a rainbow of colors


Wrote a reader in a comment on yesterday's Toilet Paper Art post: "I like that a lot — brilliant storage idea. But where on earth does one get the super-brightly-colored bung fodder? I'm sure all that dye must be hell on the, what is it — mucosa? — of the nether bits, but it's real purty. I'd like some in vivid royal purple."


Your wish is my demand.

Or something.

Six rolls in your choice of Green, Yellow, Blue, Orange, Red, or Fuchsia: $9.99.

Wait a minute... what's that music I'm hearing?

March 15, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

What's old is new again


Above, a post in yesterday's Boing Boing.

Below, an October 20, 2010 bookofjoe post.


March 15, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bunny Popsicle


Look what you just pulled out of the hat.


Set of two: $16.

March 15, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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