The Light Side: Big Apple Can Handle Godzilla

May 16, 2014

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The new remake of Godzilla hits theaters nationwide today to stomp on current box-office competition and kick off the summer blockbuster season.

While trailers of the movie have been showing the giant lizard laying waste to San Francisco and other metro areas, New York City Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Bruno confidently half-joked that the Big Apple could stand up to the monster for real.

"In the event of a Godzilla attack, we'd be looking at area evacuations," Bruno said, responding to a "what-if" inquiry by the Daily News ahead of the sci-fi flick's premiere. "He's a big guy, but he's not going to overtake the entire city."

Bruno continued, "Clearly it would cause fire, explosions, casualties, damage, debris, bridges, and tunnels being out. Roads being out, power issues, and some slime. Those are issues that we do deal with -- except for the slime."

In moviedom, Godzilla has attacked New York City before, in the 1998 monstrosity of a remake by disaster-flick auteur Roland Emmerich. Ten years later, the city was in the path of another giant rampaging creature in Cloverfield.

Bruno hinted that the city's response would be better organized than Hollywood's more-entertaining "Keystone Cops" deployments. And people should head for Yankee Stadium, not the ill-fated Brooklyn Bridge as New Yorkers did in Cloverfield. "We have a system that's a 'hub and spoke' approach," Bruno said. "We [would] move people to a hub area, for example to the Bronx, which is less likely to be impacted."

Bruno did not explain why the Bronx would be safer.

Congressman's Vile Act Caught on Camera

Florida Representative Joe Garcia has drawn condemnation from all corners of the Internet after a C-SPAN video shows him picking his ear and proceeding to put the contents in his mouth -- not once but twice.

Garcia made the ignominious double-dip during a House Judiciary Committee meeting, unbeknownst to a speaking Representative Suzan DelBene, who might have gagged all the way back to her office in Washington state had she turned around. Mashable has an in-depth, play-by-play analysis of the episode.

So why did he do it? Was it boredom? Was he hungry?

Garcia pointed the finger at a pesky hangnail, and to his credit, he went on Twitter to clear himself and downplay the whole regrettable moment on live TV with a little self-deprecation.

https://twitter.com/RepJoeGarcia/statuses/466355995133095937

https://twitter.com/RepJoeGarcia/statuses/466340426757451776

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk2dyF5Fvv8[/youtube]

Flat Land? You're Not in Kansas Anymore 

Jerry Dobson, a professor of geography at the University of Kansas, and the president of the American Geographical Society (AGS), was on a mission: to prove that Kansas was not the flattest state in America, contrary to universal belief.

In the course of his mission, he ended up crafting the study, "The Flatness of U.S. States," which was recently accepted and published by AGS's peer-reviewed Geographic Review journal. (Being the association president likely helped with that.) Not only did Dobson show that Kansas being flatter than a pancake was a myth, his study showed that Colorado, home of the Rockies, wasn't the most mountainous state.

Dobson told National Geographic in an article that driving one day across the Sunflower State, he became inspired to conduct the research. "The first 300 miles is hilly, and the last 150 miles is truly flat," said Dobson, who had lived in Georgia and Tennessee, both of which are blessed with "dramatic topography."

The professor was joined by fellow geographer Joshua Campbell, one of his graduate students at the time, and they determined that because Kansas' topographical reputation was driven by perception, they set out to measure the "human-scale perception of flatness." They developed an algorithm that would approximate what a person would see if they were standing in one spot and then, turning around in a circle, recording their view of the horizon 16 times in a revolution.

Then, running this algorithm for six days nonstop, they analyzed all the land across the 48 contiguous U.S. states.

What they found was the Sunflower State was only the seventh flattest state and that it was the Sunshine State -- Florida -- taking the prize for having the straightest horizon. Illinois followed Florida and, in turn, was trailed by North Dakota, Louisiana, and Minnesota, completing the five flattest states, where the sun rises over lands that don't.

The least flattest state determined by Dobson and Campbell was West Virginia, lending true credence to its nickname as the Mountain State.

The Body Dryer: Bacteria-Free Drying System

Tyler Overk was concerned about bacteria in public places and the environmental downside to bathroom towels. He disliked that towels needed maintenance to perform their function and took up too much inventory space. His solution was the Body Dryer.

Body Dryer was designed to dry a body in 30 seconds or less. Additionally, if it was possible he and his team wanted the experience to be a pleasant one. Three years of development went into designing the system and creating the first prototype.

Hot or cold air can be selected from the Body Dryer, and, when turned on, its super-compressed ionized air is pushed up to bring the water down your body. A scale was added to the dryer to bring more functionality to the system.

Long-term goals are to get the Body Dryer into businesses where several people need to be dried. Gyms, water parks, hotels, and pools are the most obvious targets for this technology. The long-form macro goal is for every home in America to have a body drying system.

The device runs from standard 110-volt power outlets, but a European plug attachment is planned. Weight rating is at 325 pounds, but the company says a larger person can be accommodated.

Body Dryer is a great invention that looks to be the first of many drying systems. The technology isn't necessarily new but is being used here in a unique application. A crowdsourcing project of $50,000 was sought through an Indiegogo campaign to fund the company's assembly line, and that goal has been covered with $250,000 in additional funding.

The campaign video and marketing information are well done, but the funding page and the company's website are short on details. The most important detail is generally the expected delivery date for early adopters. Watching this project develop is going to be fantastic.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKEQ1W0QcYA[/youtube]

This article was originally published on Engineering.com and is adapted in its entirety with permission. For more stories like this please visit Engineering.com.

 

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