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June 19, 2021

Dark — but awfully funny

June 19, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Experts' Expert: Where to go during an earthquake (if you want to survive)

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Doug Copp's credentials which lead me to call him an expert on earthquake survival: "I am the Rescue Chief and Disaster Manager of the American Rescue Team International (ARTI), the world's most experienced rescue team." 

More: "I have crawled inside 875 collapsed buildings, worked with rescue teams from 60 countries, founded rescue teams in several countries, and I am a member of many rescue teams from many countries. I was the United Nations expert in Disaster Mitigation for two years, and have worked at every major disaster in the world since 1985, except for simultaneous disasters."

Below, his earthquake survival guide.

Where To Go During an Earthquake

The first building I ever crawled inside of was a school in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake. Every child was under its desk. Every child was crushed to the thickness of their bones. They could have survived by lying down next to their desks in the aisles. It was obscene — unnecessary.

Simply stated, when buildings collapse, the weight of the ceilings falling upon the objects or furniture inside crushes these objects, leaving a space or void next to them — NOT under them. This space is what I call the "triangle of life." The larger the object, the stronger, the less it will compact. The less the object compacts, the larger the void, the greater the probability that the person who is using this void for safety will not be injured. The next time you watch collapsed buildings on television, count the "triangles" you see formed. They are everywhere. It is the most common shape, you will see, in a collapsed building.

10 Tips for Surviving an Earthquake

1) Most everyone who simply "ducks and covers" when building collapse is crushed to death. People who get under objects — like desks or cars — are crushed.

2) Cats, dogs, and babies often naturally curl up in the fetal position. You should too in an earthquake. It is a natural safety/survival instinct. You can survive in a smaller void. Get next to an object, next to a sofa, next to a bed, next to a large bulky object that will compress slightly but leave a void next to it.

3) Wooden buildings are the safest type of construction to be in during an earthquake. Wood is flexible and moves with the force of the earthquake. If the wooden building does collapse, large survival voids are created. Also, the wooden building has less concentrated, crushing weight. Brick buildings will break into individual bricks. Bricks will cause many injuries but less squashed bodies than concrete slabs.

4) If you are in bed during the night and an earthquake occurs, simply roll off the bed. A safe void will exist around the bed. Hotels could achieve a much greater survival rate in earthquakes simply by posting a sign on the back of the door of every room telling occupants to lie down on the floor, next to the bottom of the bed during an earthquake.

5) If an earthquake happens and you cannot easily escape by getting out the door or window, then lie down and curl up in the fetal position next to a sofa or large chair.

6) Most everyone who gets under a doorway when buildings collapse is killed. How? If you stand under a doorway and the doorjamb falls forward or backward you will be crushed by the ceiling above. If the doorjamb falls sideways you will be cut in half by the doorway. In either case, you will be killed.

7) Never go to the stairs. The stairs have a different "moment of frequency" (they swing separately from the main part of the building). The stairs and remainder of the building continuously bump into each other until structural failure of the stairs takes place. The people who get on stairs before they fail are chopped up by the stair treads — horribly mutilated. Even if the building doesn't collapse, stay away from the stairs. The stairs are a likely part of the building to be damaged. Even if the stairs are not collapsed by the earthquake, they may collapse later when overloaded by fleeing people. They should always be checked for safety, even when the rest of the building is not damaged.

8) Get near the outer walls of buildings or outside of them if possible — it is much better to be near the outside of a building than the interior. The farther inside you are from the outside perimeter of the building, the greater the probability that your escape route will be blocked.

9) People inside of their vehicles are crushed when the road above falls in an earthquake and crushes their vehicles [picture above], which is exactly what happened with the slabs between the decks of the Nimitz Freeway. The victims of the San Francisco earthquake all stayed inside of their vehicles. They were all killed. They could have easily survived by getting out and sitting or lying next to their vehicles. Everyone killed would have survived if they had been able to get out of their cars and sit or lie next to them. All the crushed cars had voids 3 feet high next to them, except for the cars that had columns fall directly across them.

10) I discovered, while crawling inside of collapsed newspaper offices and other offices with a lot of paper, that paper does not compact. Large voids are found surrounding stacks of paper.

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[via Alan Fick]

June 19, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Learn your ABCs — in American Sign Language

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Machine learning makes it happen.

June 19, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to make the world's best popcorn (Blast from the past*)

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Gizmodo Weekend Editor Eric Limer tweeted a picture of his microwave popcorn disaster (above).

I felt for him, having had many similar events ruin my on-call nights over the years at hospitals across the nation.

But I have good news for Eric: there is a better way.

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Out of the distant past, emerging from the smoke and stench of kernels gone bad and black, comes... drum roll... "How to make the world's best popcorn."

That's right: it comes right out of your microwave ready to send you into paroxysms of perfectly popped delight.

Below, excerpted from my April 18, 2005 post — and amplified by knowledge gained in the years since — the secret is revealed.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

I came across this wonderful recipe in the Washington Post Food section of December 10, 2003, in an item by Jeanne McManus entitled "New Wave Popcorn."

Here it is, in its exquisitely simple, perfect entirety:

1. Get a brown paper lunch bag and open it so it sits on its bottom with the four sides vertical.

2. Get some popcorn.

3. Put enough popcorn in to just cover the flattened bottom of the bag.

4. Close the top of the bag by folding it over on itself three times, each fold about 1/2" deep. Make sure these folds are tight and flat. The goal is to preserve as much space within the bag as possible for your popcorn to expand into as it pops while making certain no heat or steam escapes. [If tape is handy, I tape the folded top shut for added security]

5. Pull out the edges of the bag to maximize volume.

6. Place in the microwave for 2-3 minutes or so, until the sound of popping slows down. Important: DO NOT leave the area. You need to listen for the rise and fall of the kernel explosion crescendo for best results.

7. Open very carefully: steam will pour out.

I like Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Original Popping Corn myself. 

I used to keep a bottle in my O.R. locker along with a stack of lunch bags and a shaker of popcorn salt

If you follow these instructions, what you will get is popcorn as good or better than any you have ever had in your life — for mere pennies a bag.

If you aren't delighted with your results, simply let me know and I will pay you twice what you paid for your microwave oven, popcorn, bags, and salt.

You won't get a better offer today.

Trust me on this.

* January 28, 2013

June 19, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Prada Volleyball

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From the Washington Post:

Look, we have been cooped up for some serious time.
 
Many of us yearn to be outdoors, to take to the road, to travel, to bask on a beach.
 
Also, some of us desperately want new stuff.
 
For a select few of us, that stuff could include a $995 volleyball.
Prada Outdoor, the freshly launched collection from the Milanese fashion empire, is happy to provide.
 
What, precisely, is Prada Outdoor?
 
"Nature in its myriad forms takes centre stage in the latest Prada experience, encompassing various landscapes and the changing of the seasons," the website reads.
The collection, available online and only at a few stores for a matter of weeks, offers a panoply of Prada paraphernalia: yoga mats ($1,990), Frisbees ($650) and — our personal favorite — a vibrantly colored volleyball stamped with the Prada triangle logo and wrapped in a peculiar harness.
Specifically, it is a $995 rubber "volley ball" complete with "a nylon tape carry case" that resembles nothing involving beach volleyball and more a prop that strayed from some rigorous BSDM activity.
 
Beach volleyballs commonly range in price from $10 to $90 and are transported in mesh nylon bags because, you know, sand.
Frankly, the Prada ball would make a fetching handbag, a conversation piece.
 
It is infectious, confident, original, jubilant.
 
It is a ball that appears to be having one.
 
Like so much regarding fashion, we admire everything about it except the price.
We have questions, so many questions.
First, why?
 
Given that volleyball ranks among the more affordable and democratic sports, played on a patch of beach, a lawn or in a gym with a ball and net, is it really primed to become the polo of sand?
 
What is the intersection of volleyball enthusiasts and Pradanistas?
 
Is the ball meant to be spiked or, like collectible action figures and high-end watches, wrapped in the original casing in perpetuity?
 
Will buyers treat the ball as an objet to be displayed, a work of art akin to Jeff Koons’s "Total Equilibrium" series featuring Spalding basketballs floating in a tank of water, one fetching $17,189,000 in a 2016 Christie’s auction?
Alas, we called Prada and they were unable to provide answers.
Luxury brands have slapped their logos on everyday objects for some time.
 
Luxury is a form of permission to reimagine design and merge a quotidian item with that brand's specific world and vision.
 
Their vertiginous prices command our attention, if only to shake our heads. 
 
In 2009, Louis Vuitton created an $8,250 skateboard in collaboration with designer Stephen Sprouse.
 
Four years ago, Prada produced a $185 paper clip, which burned up the Internet, buzz being key to keeping a brand vital and something admittedly we may be fueling here.
Limited edition is crucial to a luxury product's success, the old supply-and-demand bathed in novelty and evanescence.
 
On the other side of the initial purchase, a robust resale market awaits.
 
A Chanel football, which originally sold for $175, is listed on 1stdibs for $5,490.
 
Which makes the Prada volleyball a potential bargain or smart investment.
 
Or, perhaps, it’s nothing of the kind.
The Prada ball is a curio to people more fluent in sport than Italian fashion.
 
"We consider volleyball as one word, and they have it as two on the website," says USA Volleyball spokeswoman B.J. Hoeptner Evans. I"s it supposed to be a ball that you volley?" When volleyballs are in heavy use, they "last quite a while. We get new ones every year or two," she says.
 
It's hard to imagine wanting to scuff a $995 interpretation or trying to score a replacement for summer 2023.
Wilson Sporting Goods manufactures the iconic, "Cast Away" movie-inspired $19.99 volleyball, while its top performance outdoor volleyball is the $64.95 OPTX AVP, as felicitously colored as the Prada ball is, in canary yellow with swaths of black, and pink and orange accents.
Amanda Lamb, Wilson's marketing director for team sports, adores the Prada ball.
"I love the storytelling. I love the sport being in the luxury spotlight," she says. "There’s a whole other consumer base willing to invest in their high-end passion. It's good for the sport and the culture when they collide."
Wilson will collide with the NBA and Louis Vuitton in late July to produce a limited edition basketball, designed by Virgil Abloh, retailing for $2,210.
"There's a lot of interest in collecting luxury products and there's such a level of interest in the game," says Lamb, who refers to it as "an aspirational basketball."
 
The ball, to be clear, is not suitable for play.
 
"There is a demand where luxury or super high-end lifestyle brands come together with sporting goods brands to help tell these stories."
 
Wilson previously partnered with YSL for tennis.
 
Lamb looks forward to other joint ventures: "We're looking for ways to marry up the brand."
 
Basketball has long been about money.
 
NBA stars are, literally, larger than most of us.
 
They're their own brands.
 
Celebrities and moguls pay dearly to sit courtside and be crashed into and sweat upon by those icons.
The same cannot be said of volleyball.
 
So who is the customer for the $995 Prada ball?
"They're paying for the Prada logo. I'm sure it's a perfectly fine ball," Hoeptner Evans says. "If people want to have fun with the ball they can. Or it would look nice on a shelf."

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$995.

June 19, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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