The Real Airline Safety Announcment

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Your life-jacket can be found under your seat, but please do not remove it now. In fact, do not bother to look for it at all. In the event of a landing on water, an unprecedented miracle will have occurred, because in the history of aviation the number of wide-bodied aircraft that have made successful landings on water is zero. This aircraft is equipped with inflatable slides that detach to form life rafts, not that it makes any difference. Please remove high-heeled shoes before using the slides. We might as well add that space helmets and anti-gravity belts should also be removed, since even to mention the use of the slides as rafts is to enter the realm of science fiction.

One of the typical experiences of being on board many commercial airlines is the announcement of the safety procedures. Usually casual air-stewardess would suddenly stiffen like perky lifeless Barbie dolls, and proceed to mechanically commence with the safety directions. This article from the Economist sheds some light on what could be announced if the airline was being a little more truthful.

Full article here.

Camels in the Desert

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George Steinmetz took these photos of camels in 2005, and it was considered one of the best photos of that year. I took a glance at this and I went “Huh? Well this is kinda nice but, one of the best?”… until I realized that, hey, those black things are not camels.

They are actually the shadows. The camels are the little white lines. That is amazing.

[via Snopes]

Self-compensating Risk

This research by Dr. Ian Walker claims that the likelihood of an accident increases when you put on a helmet when you ride a bicycle.

“Either way, this study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely in the first place,” he added.

Dr Walker thinks the reason drivers give less room to cyclists wearing helmets is because they see them as “Lycra-clad street warriors” and believe they are more predictable than those without.

This is an interesting, but not entirely surprising finding. Other studies have found that humans have an inherent subconscious threshold of perceived risk. As risk is reduced by interventions such as safety mechanisms, we subconsciously become more daring/dangerous to bring the inherent risk back to the threshold level.

So if you’ve switched from normal brakes to ABS (anti-brake lock system) for your car, you are probably going to brake later and drive faster. In the research, wearing a helmet may have induced the biker to be faster or more daring unknowingly, while other motorists had also driven closer to the bicycle.

In some ways, the difference in the average distance where the cars overtake the bicycle can perhaps be conceived as an indicator of the perceived reduction in risk brought on by the bicycle helmet.

While we’re on the subject of biking, above is a video of very daring New York messenger-bikers weaving in and out of traffic through impossibly small margins. Based on the human behavior researches, it would perhaps even seem that they have to ride dangerously just because they’re skilled in bicycle-riding.

The Chemically Altered Life

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This is Caffeinated Soap.
It is purportedly “infused with caffeine anhydrous, each bar of Shower shock contains approximately 12 servings/showers per 4 ounce bar with 200 milligrams of caffeine per serving. No, we’re not kidding and no you don’t eat it. The caffeine is absorbed through the skin”.

So the modern human wakes up to a double-shot espresso (with saccharine instead of sugar – reduced calories, you know), coupled with this mind-awakening shower, takes a Prozac with breakfast to feel charged up, head up to office, more lattes and coffees to remain perky, and finally comes back home, uses aroma-therapeutic bath lotions to wind down and relax, listens to slow jazz in ambient-controlled lighting and temperature, does yoga and meditate to give the mind a peaceful serenity, before popping a sleeping pill to slumber in magnetic mattresses that improves the body energy field. Next morning, the cycle repeats.

Francois Brunelle – Lookalike Project

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Photographer Francois Brunelle is a Canadian photographer that shoots photos of two people who are not related, however they look alike. Several years ago, someone mentioned to Francois that he looked like Rowan Atkinson, most known as “Mr. Bean”. This intrigued Mr. Brunelle and he started the “I’m not a look-alike project”. Once he has acquired about 200 photos, he plans to publish them in a book. If you look at the examples included here, these strangers could easily pass as siblings. If you just showed me the pictures, I would immediately think they were twins.  The photos have no editing other than touch up for distractions like dust etc.

Francois is interviewed here by CBCTelevision.

 

It is just fascinating to see these pictures of unrelated people that look alike.

 

Tamara Stomphorst   Sandra Meines 2010

Tamara Stomphorst Sandra Meines 2010

 Yves Megert (left) and Remi Bacon,  2001

Yves Megert (left) and Remi Bacon, 2001

Marie Chantal (left) and Nancy Paul, 2004

Marie Chantal (left) and Nancy Paul, 2004

Nathaniel and Edward, 2003

Nathaniel and Edward, 2003

Edith Prefontaine and Stefanie Tremblay, 2001

Edith Prefontaine and Stefanie Tremblay, 2001

Stéphane Morin and Claude-Simon Langlois.

Stéphane Morin and Claude-Simon Langlois.

Marcel Stepanoff and Ludovic Maillard, 2005

Marcel Stepanoff and Ludovic Maillard, 2005

Frederick Hryszyn and Justin Ford, 2004

Frederick Hryszyn and Justin Ford, 2004

Jean Vachon  and Jacques-Dominique Landry

Jean Vachon and Jacques-Dominique Landry

Remy Girard and Gabriel Guibert, 2003

Remy Girard and Gabriel Guibert, 2003

Valerie Carreau and Jean-Phillippe Royer, 2004

Valerie Carreau and Jean-Phillippe Royer, 2004

Sarah Fournier and Alan Madill, 2005

Sarah Fournier and Alan Madill, 2005

 

 

 

 

 

As of December 2012, Francois is still looking for look-alikes for his “I’m not a look-alike project”.

 

 

Hanging Cars

A friend asked me something about hanging installations & displays, and I got reminded of these two fine examples of hanging cars. Both are demonstrations of technical engineering feat that has combined spectacularly with design aesthetics.

The first is the suspended Honda F1 car, exploded view. The idea is not new, but I guess from the reaction these pictures garnered online, every time something like this appears it still captures imagination and still awes.

suspendedcars
[More pictures at Uêba]

The second one, a more permanent fixture, is the Volkswagen Glass Factory in Dresden. Manufacturing the high-end VW model Phaeton, the factory is dedicated to showcasing its manufacturing processes and the amount of engineering that goes into each car. It’s probably only the Germans who can keep the place so clean and well-presented.

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[Check out this forum posting – more information and pictures]