On the one year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, the Economist magazine now considers Nuclear energy to be "the dream that failed", in an issue with articles covering the history, safety issues, handling of nuclear waste, and costs (with emphasis on China) of nuclear power. [more inside]
Philadelphia's Fox 29 News does an undercover investigation on the possible terrorist threat posed by unguarded chemicals in labs. Mistakes are made.
Does Football have a Future?: Football players are anywhere from five to nineteen times more likely than a member of the general population to suffer from a dementia-like illness. This is likely a result of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (picture), neurodegeneration caused by receiving multiple concussions or even subconcussions that are not detectable around time of impact. CTE has been linked to other mood and behavior changes, including suicidal depression (a great review of the medical literature generally), and has been found in football players as young as 21. And, of course, there is the sometimes debilitating physical disability (either acutely or later in life) from playing a hard-contact sport. The NFL has a long history of adjusting safety standards in bits and pieces (e.g., legalization of the forward pass) to meet public concern over potential injury and disability from playing the sport, though still to some degree publicly denies a connection between football and brain damage. New Yorker writer Ben McGrath talks to football players (past and present), their families (often left behind by untimely death or dementia-twilight), franchise heads, and doctors to explore this history, the crushing legacy of sports injuries, and the question of whether it is possible to reform the rules to minimize the risk of concussion and thus the risk of CTE (if any such risk is acceptable). Would it still be football if such changes were to tone down the violence? (Yes, No [from iconoclast Buzz Bissinger]) And, uncomfortably: is the sport of football unethical for its players, even if entered into on their own volition? (previously in the New Yorker; previously on MetaFilter 1, 2, 3) [more inside]
How do you make a bicycle more visible to drivers at night? Create a new wheel-based lighting system: Vimeo / Youtube. Kickstarter campaign is finished and funded, (details of the design at that page) and the company is hoping to have them on sale by March 2012. Via. More. Demo videos. [more inside]
The FBI presents: Laser Pointer Leads to Arrest. Laser events logged by the FAA in 2010 nearly doubled from 2009, with 2,836 reports. [more inside]
Which place looks safer? Which place looks more unique? Which place looks more upper-class? MIT is crowdsourcing a "perception network" to analyze people's subconscious judgments about urban spaces. Preliminary results for Boston, New York City, Vienna, Salzburg, and Linz (Austria). [more inside]
"I never felt like passing out in a warehouse and I never felt treated like a piece of crap in any other warehouse but this one," Goris said. "They can do that because there aren't any jobs in the area."The Allentown newspaper The Morning Call investigates life inside of one of Amazon's newest warehouses. [more inside]
Hesperian is a non-profit publisher of books and newsletters for community-based health care, mostly aimed at the third world. Their first book, Where There Is No Doctor, A Village Health Handbook, has been translated into 88 languages and is one of the most widely used training and work manuals for community health care in the world. They have now made 20 of their publications available for free download, many of which can now also be browsed online through their website using an "Ebrary" in-browser interface. [more inside]
Two Chinese bullet trains have collided with two coaches falling off a bridge after a lightning strike disabled the first train and signaling failed to alert the second in time. A few months previously the railways ministry expressed and subsequently retracted concerns that builders had ignored safety standards to complete construction more quickly. [more inside]
Danish architect Jan Gehl on making cities safe for people, the art and science of designing good cities for walking, and how to plan good cities for bicycling.
In an effort to preserve the rich story behind this landmark film, CONELRAD has spent the last two years thoroughly researching DUCK AND COVER's production history as well as its initial public reception in 1952. Interviews were conducted with living participants involved in the making of the film as well as surviving family members of those key players who had passed away. In the course of our research, CONELRAD also uncovered a wealth of archival material that leaves no doubt that a tremendous amount of thought went into the making of this nine minute motion picture that has been the subject of so much dismissive ridicule over the years. (More CONELRAD goodness previously)
OSHA's 1984 Fatal Facts report comes illustrated with surprisingly sangfroid cartoons of workplace accidents.
Grand Prix - the Killer Years A BBC documentary on how rapidly evolving technology and an indifference to driver safety on the part of car designers and track owners caused ever-escalating casualties among the top-tier drivers of the '60s and '70s, and the efforts of the drivers to introduce modern safety standards and rules. The footage is in places exhilarating, capturing the beauty and the excitement of the sport at its best, and in others horrifying and tragic, the sport at its worst.
Abortion has always been a hotspot in the culture wars. But of late, the anti-abortion movement has had some huge wins, often sliding in under the radar of pro-choice supporters. Idaho bans abortions after the 20th week, claiming that mother's shouldn't have the right to make a fetus uncomfortable. Nebraska also banned abortion after the 20th week, so did Oklahoma. Oregon, Minnesota, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, and Ohio are also considering joining the 31 states that currently have such a ban. Virginia passed a law that will shut the doors of almost every abortion clinic in the state. And various areas are now enacting laws that suggest a fetus is significantly more important than the carrier of said fetus. One judge ruled that a girl couldn't have an abortion because she had bad grammar. It is quite possible that women who are in their 40s right now may be the only generation of American women that possessed full reproductive rights for their entire child bearing years.
March 25, 2011 will mark the 100 year anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. American Experience has marked the anniversary. HBO will also mark the anniversary. In fact, many groups all across the country will mark the anniversary. [more inside]
Inside the Secret Service. Sidebars: Radio Chatter and The Presidential Motorcade (Via) [more inside]
Think About This is a surprisingly gory, ironically NSFW authentic safety video aimed at keeping factory workers safe, by giving them something to think about. [more inside]
The Seil Bag: a bike backpack with turn signals! The Seil Bag consists of a printed circuit board with LED lights attached to a backpack. Equipped with a detachable wireless controller, riders can easily employ various signals such as directional arrows and emergency lights. South Korean Lee Myung Su won a 2010 red dot design award for her creation.
Drivers in West Vancouver will soon see a 3D image in the street of a small girl chasing a ball. The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation is teaming with Preventable to create the image with the goal of enhancing traffic safety. [more inside]
Air New Zealand's new on-board safety video has been released and this time it features the All Blacks. (YouTube) Following on from its last innovative safety video (previously), Air New Zealand has produced another quirky safety video, this time featuring the national rugby team, the All Blacks. And the soundtrack features the iconic hit, "Why Does Love Do This To Me?" (YouTube) by the The Exponents. Pure kiwiness.
"It's great to be alive!" - Parents! Traumatise your children into safe behavior with this Official Safety Booklet. You'll never hide in a pile of leaves again.
""Motorcyclist fired me--because Arai and Shoei didn't like a helmet-standards piece I wrote for the New York Times"
Last year long-time motorcycle journalist Dexter Ford wrote this article for the NYT about helmet safety standards, a followup to his 2005 article "Blowing the Lid Off". Leaked emails (pdf) reveal that helmet manufacturers/advertisers were none too pleased, ultimately resulting in Ford being fired. (via hellforleather) [more inside]
Marine Safety Specialist Mario Vittone knows what it looks like when someone is drowning, and you probably don't. It's deceptively quiet, undramatic, and happens so fast that bystanders may not even know it's happening. A drowning person's brain kicks into an instinctive mode that prevents yelling for help.
Escape Rescue Systems of New Jersey have built the most exciting evacuation pods for tall buildings. [more inside]
How The U.S. Government Built, Then Killed The Safest Car Ever Built. Thirty-five years ago, the U.S. government built a fleet of cars that were safer than anything on the road. Twenty-five years ago, the government shredded them in secret.
The National Labor Committee, a watchdog group that investigates working conditions at foreign factories producing goods for US corporations, has released a report on the KYE Factory in Guangdong, China. KYE manufactures outsourced products for Microsoft (their biggest customer), HP, Best Buy, Samsung, Foxconn, Acer, Logitech, and ASUS. The report focuses heavily on the workers producing Microsoft products. In response, Microsoft says they will investigate the allegations, as their vendor code of conduct (pdf) bans much of the abuses uncovered by the report. Photo Slideshow / NLC report summary [more inside]
New York Magazine has crunched the numbers, Park Slope has taken the title of most livable neighborhood of New York. [more inside]
NYU's Snuff Film. The Village Voice reports on the accidental death of NYU film student John Hunt Lamensdorf, on a shoot in Georgia. Besides the inevitable litigation and hush-up, the death has also resulted in a scramble at NYU to change the rules and safety procedures for student productions.
One World Technologies, manufacturer of Ryobi tools, has been ordered to pay damages of US$1.5 million to Carlos Osorio who injured his fingers while using a Ryobi table saw. The case hinged on the Ryobi's lack of "flesh sensing technology" which is found only SawStop's [previously] saws. [more inside]
After 200 years, The Annual Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake at Cooper's Hill, near Gloucester in England has been canceled due to health and safety fears. (Official site.) The BBC devotes a section of their site to the event, and both ESPN and The Big Picture covered it last year. Previously [more inside]
Toyota executives are currently testifying before Congress about the safety issues that have led to the recall of millions of vehicles. They insist that "We are confident that no problems exist with the electronic throttle control system in our vehicles." Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) says "I would not consider... of value" their report in support of this claim.
Consumer products and especially those marketed for children continue to be the subject of massive recalls even after what was called a '100-year flood' level of health and safety problems in 2007-2008. The list of recent recall issues include: burn and fire hazards in game console battery chargers, gas grill hoses, dehumidifiers and notebook computers; lead in toy military figures, certain cloth books and trucks; as well as various safety risks in baby play yards, cribs and car seats. Even the decades-old issue of strangulation in drape cords continues to be a problem. [more inside]
Sixteen workers are killed a day "Every eight hour workday, two people are killed on the job. Most companies are never prosecuted for negligence, even after repeated warnings that their workers were in danger. Meanwhile, workers who blow the whistle face threats and retaliation at the workplace." In a short video examining several cases of worker deaths, David Uhlmann suggests the sanction for an offense that results in a worker's death should be as great as the sanction for killing a deer out of season.
Interesting article at Slate, In Defense of Jaywalking, where the author describes how the media and others often slant coverage of pedestrian vs auto accidents--examples include San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe , and New York Post columns. Police, who are typically car-bound, are often biased in favor of other drivers. Not unexpectedly the Federal Highway Administration has curious language regarding walkers--"Still, almost no one can avoid occasional pedestrian status". Even the term jaywalking is commonly misused. Solutions? More money towards safer walking (including a reversal of funding policies that favor cars), better places to walk, pedestrian-friendly engineering, lower urban speed limits, harsher penalties for drivers that violate pedestrian's rights, and critical reading of the often selective and sensationalized media coverage of traffic crashes.
Does carrying a gun protect you from physical harm? Research by epidemiologists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggests that carrying a gun makes one 4.5 times more likely to be shot in an assault, than someone not possessing a gun. Resisting increases one's odds of suffering harm even greater. [more inside]
Fear of Cycling, an essay in five parts: introduction, constructing fear of cycling, helmet promotion campaigns, new cycling spaces, making cycling strange.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently had their 50th anniversary, and to taut the progress of car safety design, they've set a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air versus a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu, and shared the crash test videos on YouTube. [more inside]
In light of the recent tragic death of a cyclist in Toronto, even normally well-balanced MeFites have polarized in the bikes vs. cars “war”. But according to Guillermo Penalosa, the fight is really about better urban design. He helped to radically reinvent the transit and parks infrastructure of Bogata, making it of the best cycling cities in the world. The recent changes to Broadway in New York were influenced by Bogota's success. Gil now advises the Project for Public Spaces and is Executive Director of Walk & Bike for Life. Their solution to the pedestrians vs. cars vs. bikes battle is simple: better urban planning (previously on MeFi) that gives everyone their own safe space. Not sure if your city's infrastructure is up-to-snuff? Apply the 8/80 rule. In the meantime, keep safe out there.
The Deadly Cost of Swooping In to Save a Life (single-page version): Deregulation and America's health care system combine to make medical helicopters increasingly dangerous.
Many TV-savvy Canadians will be familiar with the distinctive painted exclamation mark of the Concerned Children's Advertisers. For nearly 20 years, the CCA has partnered with broadcasters across the country in order to produce and air PSAs aimed at kids. This has resulted in some classic spots on such topics as drug use prevention, media literacy, and more recently a series on the importance of fitness. A personal favorite: the alternately endearing and terribly creepy Don't You Put It In Your Mouth (feat. Scary, Anemic Lion). [more inside]
Molds On Foods: Are They Dangerous? Finally a US government agency tells us all what's OK to eat after it's gotten moldy.
The UK government has decided to buy into the blythe doll/manga trend when frightening kiddies into being safe. [more inside]
Thinking about becoming a parent? You might find the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's list of recalled items fun! It looks like there's just under a zillion things out there that might harm your new tot. And that doesn't include ... y'know ... toys.
Bleeding billboard. Yeah, that's what I said.
Lightlane builds lasers that shoot out from your bike onto the road, displaying a bike lane wherever you ride. Written about here and here.
Do you still have some leftovers from Christmas hiding in the back of your fridge? Are you wondering if you should eat it? This is a site dedicated to that very important question. [more inside]
A Review of Criticality Accidents (3.7 MB pdf) Do you like reading comp.risks, or CVR transcripts from famous plane crashes? Then you may enjoy this technical analysis of 60 accidents where improper handling of fissile materials led to unexpected critical mass. [more inside]