Anatomy of a crash

This is a reconstruction of a crash from the perspective of the car's computer. Everything happens before the driver is even aware of the collision.

0 milliseconds - An external object touches the driver's door.

1 ms - The car's door pressure sensor detects a pressure wave.

2 ms - An acceleration sensor in the C-pillar behind the rear door also detects a crash event.

2.5 ms - A sensor in the car's centre detects crash vibrations.

5 ms - Car's crash computer checks for insignificant crash events, such as a shopping trolley impact or incidental contact. It is still working out the severity of the crash. Door intrusion structure begins to absorb energy.

6.5 ms - Door pressure sensor registers peak pressures.

7 ms - Crash computer confirms a serious crash and calculates its actions.

8 ms - Computer sends a "fire" signal to side airbag. Meanwhile, B-pillar begins to crumple inwards and energy begins to transfer into cross-car load path beneath the occupant.

8.5 ms - Side airbag system fires.

15 ms - Roof begins to absorb part of the impact. Airbag bursts through seat foam and begins to fill.

17 ms - Cross-car load path and structure under rear seat reach maximum load.
Airbag covers occupant's chest and begins to push the shoulder away from impact zone.

20 ms - Door and B-pillar begin to push on front seat. Airbag begins to push occupant's chest away from the impact.

27 ms - Impact velocity has halved from 50 km/h to 23.5 km/h. A "pusher block" in the seat moves occupant's pelvis away from impact zone. Airbag starts controlled deflation.

30 ms - The Falcon has absorbed all crash energy. Airbag remains in place. For a brief moment, occupant experiences maximum force equal to 12 times the force of gravity.

45 ms - Occupant and airbag move together with deforming side structure.

50 ms - Crash computer unlocks car's doors. Passenger safety cell begins to rebound, pushing doors away from occupant.

70 ms - Airbag continues to deflate. Occupant moves back towards middle of car.
Engineers classify crash as "complete".

150-300 ms - Occupant becomes aware of collision.

Posted February 24, 2009

The Real Shaq

After Shaq tweets that he's hanging out at a local diner in Phoenix, two nervous Twitter users venture out to see if THE_REAL_SHAQ is actually the real Shaq.

Returning to our hushed whispers I asked Sean, "Should we go talk to him now?" "I don't know, should we?"

"Yes, you should" a very deep voice entered our conversation from 2 booths over.

Posted February 24, 2009

Legislation introduced to legalize marijuana

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano will announce legislation to legalize marijuana and earn perhaps $1 billion annually by taxing it. It's highly ambitious, though I see very little chance of this passing.

Mecke said Ammiano's proposed bill "would remove all penalties in California law on cultivation, transportation, sale, purchase, possession, or use of marijuana, natural THC, or paraphernalia for persons over the age of 21."
Posted February 23, 2009

Welded Dif, What the hell!!!

I can't tell if this is a troll or not, but I'm really hoping it's real. Mostly because I want to believe somebody actually thought welding their gears together for traction would work.

Alright, after reading a ton of threads on welding up gears for extra traction, i went ahead and welded mine up.

I put the third back in and went to pull out of my garage, and I just roasted my clutch. I figured that maybe there was some slag left in the bearing, so i dropped it in 4lo and lo and behold something broke loose.

I'm really pissed at all this BS talk. I welded my junk really wel. And now my driveline is twisted up like a damn pretzel.

You are all a bunch of shit talkin Jerks.

What the hell did you all do differently?


Posted February 23, 2009

PepsiCo dropping the terrible new Tropicana packaging

PepsiCo is bowing to public demand and scrapping the changes made to their Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice. Redesigned packaging that was introduced in early January is being discontinued, and the previous version will be brought back in the next month.

Also returning will be the longtime Tropicana brand symbol, an orange from which a straw protrudes. The symbol, meant to evoke fresh taste, had been supplanted on the new packages by a glass of orange juice.

The about-face comes after consumers complained about the makeover in letters, e-mail messages and telephone calls and clamored for a return of the original look.

Some of those commenting described the new packaging as "ugly" or "stupid," and resembling "a generic bargain brand" or a "store brand."

"Do any of these package-design people actually shop for orange juice?" the writer of one e-mail message asked rhetorically. "Because I do, and the new cartons stink."

Others described the redesign as making it more difficult to distinguish among the varieties of Tropicana or differentiate Tropicana from other orange juices.

Posted February 23, 2009

Nate Silver explains his missed Oscar predictions

The man behind went four for six in his Oscar predictions, and here he breaks down the reasons for the misses.

The advantage in making a subjective judgment is that you may be able to account for information that is hard to quantify -- for example, Rourke's behavioral problems or the politics of Sean Penn playing a gay icon in a year where Hollywood felt very guilty about the passage of Proposition 8. The disadvantage is that human beings have all sorts of cognitive biases, and it's easy to allow these biases to color one's thinking. I would guess, for instance, that most critics would have trouble decoupling the question of who they thought should win the Oscars -- those performances they liked the best personally -- from who they thought actually would win them.

You can see Nate Silver's original Oscar predictions here.

Posted February 23, 2009

How Kate Winslet won her Oscar

Her brilliant strategy revealed by Ricky Gervais' Extras.

Posted February 23, 2009

An important message from the global entertainment industry

The internet will definitely be the end of...something. I guess.


Posted February 23, 2009

Osama bin Laden's location predicted with technique used to track endangered species

Geography Professor Thomas Gillespie has employed a technique typically used for tracking endangered species in order to pinpoint the most likely location of Osama bin Laden. [via]

In a paper (pdf) published in the MIT International Review Gillespie describes how he used biogeographic data including bin Laden's last known location, cultural background, security needs, declining health, limited mobility and height to create a mathematical model that he claims will show where the terror mastermind is hiding.

More specifically, he found a 90 percent chance that bin Laden is in Kurram province in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, most likely in the town of Parachinar which gave shelter to a larger number of Mujahedin during the 1980s.

Posted February 18, 2009

Vegetables not as good for you as they used to be

According to the February issue of the Journal of HortScience, produce has been losing its nutritional value over the years, most notably due to the "Dilution Effect" and "Industrialization" of agriculture.

Apparently produce in the U.S. not only tastes worse than it did in your grandparents' days, it also contains fewer nutrients -- at least according to Donald R. Davis, a former research associate with the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas, Austin. Davis claims the average vegetable found in today's supermarket is anywhere from 5% to 40% lower in minerals (including magnesium, iron, calcium and zinc) than those harvested just 50 years ago.

Fruits seem to be less affected by genetic and environmental dilution, but there's no clear answer on how to deal with nutritionally bankrupt vegetables. Supplementing them is problematic, too, since recent research indicates vitamin pills aren't very helpful either.

Posted February 18, 2009

Facebook returns to original Terms of Service

After a huge public outcry, Facebook has decided to return to its original TOS.

A couple of weeks ago, we revised our terms of use hoping to clarify some parts for our users. Over the past couple of days, we received a lot of questions and comments about the changes and what they mean for people and their information. Based on this feedback, we have decided to return to our previous terms of use while we resolve the issues that people have raised.

A sensible decision, considering their new TOS essentially let them do anything they wanted with your content, even after you deleted your account.

Posted February 18, 2009

Four new pennies being released

new-pennies.jpgIn honor of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday, the U.S. Mint is planning to release four new Lincoln pennies this year, though given the rising price of zinc and copper it actually costs about 1.4 cents to make a penny.

Abraham Lincoln's penny has been around since 1909, when it was inaugurated with several firsts. It was the first U.S. coin to include the words "In God We Trust," and the first to include a portrait. "A strong feeling had prevailed against using portraits on our coins," said a Treasury Department fact sheet, "but public sentiment stemming from the 100th anniversary celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birth proved stronger than the long-standing prejudice."

The first penny depicts the one-room log cabin in Kentucky where Lincoln was born, and is already in circulation. The second shows Lincoln as a rail splitter in Indiana, and should start moving into circulation in mid-May. The third, due out in August, shows him reporting to work at the Illinois Legislature, and the fourth penny, due in November, depicts the U.S. Capitol without its dome -- a symbol of the civil war that divided the nation when he was president.

Posted February 18, 2009

It is now illegal to photograph the police in the UK

Since Monday, it has become illegal to take pictures of police engaged in counter-terrorist operations. Which, in practice, is essentially a ban on taking pictures of the police.

Although I write as someone who has no particular axe to grind about the police, I am beginning to wonder whether we have a serious problem with a police force that believes it is entitled to monitor political activity. Set against the new law banning photographs of the police - which surely will be used by every policeman parked on a double yellow line or meting out the rough justice - there is increasing tendency of the police to photograph people in an aggressive fashion. It shows an innate lack of respect for the innocent citizen and the conventions of our free society, which is extremely disturbing.
Posted February 18, 2009

New wave flash animation via Moscow

Russian animators are making the most out of Flash, with some pretty amazing results.

A new wave of Russian flash animation is evolving the form. When an offshoot becomes a genre is debatable, but the Russian school is stretching the boundaries - most certainly in subject matter if not the animation itself. Serious minded animation for those who want to see Flash used for more than just e-cards and Christmas sing-alongs.
Posted February 18, 2009

Celebrities with twins

Here's a list of celebrities with twins, including Gisele Bundchen, Keifer Sutherland, and Scarlett Johansson, among others.


Posted February 18, 2009