Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

I’m sorry that I have to blog this, since:

  • It is a genuine tragedy, and I don’t mean to make light of it.
  • There’s no way that I could not blog this, for obvious reasons.

Fox News reports that Rebecca Burger, who has more than 150,000 followers on Instagram, was killed when a defective whipped cream dispenser exploded and hit her in the chest.

Ms. Burger is described as a “popular French fitness model”. Link goes to the Statesman and not to Fox News because the Fox News story has really obnoxious auto-play video.

I guess this is another one of those “tomorrow is guaranteed to nobody” stories. At any moment you could be hit by a bus, gored by a bull, hit by a falling beam, or even killed in a “freak whipped cream accident”.

Be careful out there.

Quote of the day.

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Being hospitalized near death will take off the pounds, but it’s not recommended.

–Derek Lowe

Important safety tip (#20 in a series)

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

For the love of God, don’t go swimming in a Yellowstone hot spring.

First of all, it will kill you.

Second of all, those springs are acid, and will dissolve your dead body.

We haven’t had a musical interlude in a while. Let’s fix that. Besides, this is a rather catchy little ditty,

Obit watch: September 5, 2016.

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Officer Amir Abdul-Khaliq of the Austin Police Department passed away yesterday.

He was critically injured in an accident on Thursday. According to reports, he was escorting a funeral procession, and was at the Burnet/Ohlen intersection when a woman pulled in front of him (trying to make it into a gap in the procession) resulting in the officer striking her vehicle.

Cmdr. Art Fortune with the Police Department’s Highway Enforcement Command said the department has handled at least a dozen motorcycle crashes involving officers in the past two years, but none had been as serious as Thursday’s incident.

Officer Abdul-Khaliq had been on the force for 17 years and has five children.

Be careful out there, people.

Semi-related: “A Fighter Pilot’s Guide to Surviving on the Roads..”

Important safety tip (#19 in a series)

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

I understand the desire to Instagram your travels. Especially if you are on an long cruise going to exotic places. And especially if you are a decently attractive woman.

But you might want to think twice about drawing attention to yourself.

Especially if you are carrying nearly 210 pounds of cocaine in your luggage.

“Traveling is one thing,” Roberge wrote on Instagram. “But traveling with an open mind, ready to taste everything, see everything, learn everything and get yourself out of your comfort zone … is probably the best therapy and lesson ever. I used to be afraid to get out of my little town and now I feel like I don’t want to see that little town anymore cause it’s beautiful out there and it’s sooo worth it.”

Yeah, she’s probably going to be spending a long time out of her comfort zone.

On Monday, the trio appeared in court in Sydney, charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, authorities said.

I don’t know if Australian law is anything like US law, and that “maximum penalty” is more public relations than reality, especially for a first offense with no previous criminal record. I’m also guessing, though, that only one of them is going to get to play “Let’s Make A Deal”, and that the other two will be spending at least tome time making new friends.

The cocaine was packed into suitcases so tightly, agents said in a Facebook post, that “these three Canadian nationals did not have much room for clean underwear or spare toothbrushes.”

Ewwwww. Then again, this was a cruise ship, right? I’ve never been on one, but I assume they have a little store where you can at least get a spare toothbrush and perhaps some clean underwear? I actually checked the Princess cruise lines website, and while they claim the ship has “boutiques”, there aren’t many specifics beyond that. Maybe you have to pick up clean undies and a toothbrush when you go ashore?

TMQ Watch: November 25, 2014.

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Two of our new favorite things in the world:

  1. Kickended, an archive of failed Kickstarter projects. And when we say “failed”, we don’t just mean “didn’t meet their goal”; these are projects that attracted no pledges at all.
  2. The Clickbait Headline Generator. The real genius of this is the “View This as a Fake Website” function.
  3. grapes

    We actually want to write the “Three Types of Fun You Should Never Have With a Freelance Nurse” article, as we have some ideas for that. Unfortunately, those ideas make us cringe so badly we can’t bring ourselves to start writing.

    In other news, this week’s TMQ, after the jump…


Important safety tip (#18 in a series)

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

A while back, I suggested the words ‘f–king” and “b-tch”, along with the conjugate “f–king b-tch”, do not belong in a professional email.

To that list, I now suggest that the word “whore” be added.

Also: pay the writer! But that’s not really a “safety” tip…

Important safety tip. (#17 in a series)

Friday, July 12th, 2013

I shouldn’t have to say this, should I? People aren’t this stupid, are they?

Apparently, they are. So, safety tip:

If it is hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement, for the love of Ghu, please use a pan.

Random notes: June 15, 2013.

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

NYT headline:

Minnesota Man, 94, Is Investigated for Nazi Ties

I think, with Father’s Day approaching, this is an important safety tip for everyone. A tie may be a good gift for Dad, if he has to wear ties and if you put some thought into it. However, I’d recommend staying away from ties with Nazi iconography, just as a general rule.

When two student journalists from Paw Prints, the newspaper of West Islip High School, set out to investigate school security, they thought they might do some good, maybe win the award for story of the year in the Long Island Press high school journalism contest. Instead, the article was quashed, and they wound up with a grown-up lesson in the consequences of testing nerves in a post-Newtown-massacre world.

Randal Schwartz, call your office please.

(That was perhaps my only disappointment at YAPC. As I noted, I did get to shake Larry Wall’s hand, but I never saw Randal Schwartz; I’m not even sure if he was there.)

There’s a protest singer singing a protest song.

Another NYT headline:

A Precarious Olympic Bid for Istanbul

Not Constantinople?

(Technically, I suppose that’s nobody’s business but the Turks. And, I guess, the IOC.)

Random notes: May 12, 2013.

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Remember Detective Louis Scarcella, aka one of the “likeable scamps” who put David Ranta away for 22 years?

The other shoe has dropped.

The [Brooklyn district attorney’s] office’s Conviction Integrity Unit will reopen every murder case that resulted in a guilty verdict after being investigated by Detective Louis Scarcella, a flashy officer who handled some of Brooklyn’s most notorious crimes during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.


The development comes after The New York Times examined a dozen cases involving Mr. Scarcella and found disturbing patterns, including the detective’s reliance on the same eyewitness, a crack-addicted prostitute, for multiple murder prosecutions [Emphasis added – DB] and his delivery of confessions from suspects who later said they had told him nothing. At the same time, defense lawyers, inmates and prisoner advocacy organizations have contacted the district attorney’s office to share their own suspicions about Mr. Scarcella.

And more. I don’t want to quote the entire article, but this is an important paragraph because it illustrates a key point: what you post on the Internet doesn’t disappear.

A prosecutor’s view of Ms. Gomez is available in an Internet posting on a cigar-smokers forum. Neil Ross, a former assistant district attorney who is now a Manhattan criminal court judge, prosecuted the two Hill cases. In a 2000 posting, he reminisced about a cigar he received from the “legendary detective” Louis Scarcella as they celebrated in a bar after the Hill conviction.

In the post, Mr. Ross said that the evidence backed up Ms. Gomez but acknowledged, “It was near folly to even think that anyone would believe Gomez about anything, let alone the fact that she witnessed the same guy kill two different people.”

Ms. Gomez is the crack addicted prostitute mentioned above. She’s dead now.

Have you ever wondered what it is like to manage a motel in the Rundberg/I-35 area? The Statesman has your answer.

(Note to my out-of-town readers: the Rundberg/I-35 corridor is notorious as a haven for drug dealing and prostitution.)

Austin politics note (readers who aren’t into Austin politics can skip this one):

We had an election yesterday. Specifically, we were asked to vote on bonds for the Austin Independent School District.

There were four bond proposals on the ballot, totaling $892 million. That’s right: AISD wanted to issue nearly one billion dollars worth of bonds.

This is one of the few times where I’ve actually seen organized opposition to a bond election in Austin. There were a lot of large “vote no” signs in yards and in front of businesses. Surprisingly, even the Statesman came out and opposed the bonds. (Our local alternative newspaper, the Austin Chronicle, endorsed the bonds. But the AusChron has never met a tax, a bond issue, or a government boondoggle they didn’t like.)

The end result: half the bonds passed, and half the bonds failed. This is kind of a “WTF?” moment: you’d figure the voting would go all one way or the other. Then again…

Proposition 2, which totaled $234 million, would have relieved overcrowded schools, which district officials said were among the most critical needs on campuses. The proposition contained three new schools and campus additions that district officials say are desperately needed. It also would have funded a 500-seat performing arts center at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, something critics called a luxury.

“a 500-seat performing arts center at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders”?!

Proposition 4 would have provided $168.6 million for academic programs, fine arts and athletics. That measure had several controversial proposals in it, most notably $20 million for renovations to the old Anderson High School to create an all-boys school.

Those are the propositions that failed.

Proposition 1, which passed by just a few hundred votes, will provide $140.6 million for health, environment, equipment and technology. The bulk of Proposition 1 will go to technology upgrades, including new computers and networks, and will pump money into energy conservation initiatives.

Proposition 3, the other one that passed, “provides money for renovations across the district”. Proposition 1 and 3 together total out to $489.6 million, and “will add $38.40 to the property tax bill for a $200,000 home.”

Week of Gatsby: Day 4.

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Following up on a previous entry: it is legal to download Gatsby in every country except for seven. The United States is one of those seven.

If you happen to live in a country other than those seven – say, for example, Australia – it is perfectly legal for you to download Gatsby from the local version of Project Gutenberg.

Also, I wanted to link to this week’s episode of “The Ihnatko Almanac”: (Edited to add: Fixed. Thanks, Lawrence.) Andy Ihnatko touches on Baz Luhrmann and Gatsby, though his primary topic is one we brought up the other day: Sebastian Faulks continuing the Wodehouse Jeeves novels.

(I also wanted to link this because if you listen to the first couple of minutes, you’ll hear a name you might recognize.)

(Important safety tip: be careful who you page, and who you send feedback to. They just might read your name on the air. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

More unintended consequences.

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Picked this up from Overlawyered, and thought it deserved wider circulation.

Woman and a friend are having coffee. Friend mentions that her daughter just had her first baby. The daughter works in a job that pays just above minimum wage, so money is tight. Daughter stretches her money by shopping the second-hand market for baby stuff. But daughter can’t find any used cribs for sale.

I had to tell my friend that her daughter could not find a second-hand crib because the CPSC basically outlawed selling them. The CPSC has put in place a new safety standard for cribs and, by the law’s terms, all cribs, regardless of when they were made or where they are sold, must meet these new standards. Because the standard is fairly new, cribs meeting the new standard have not yet cycled down to the resale market. And because of the standard, the new cribs are quite expensive, so they will probably be used for a long time before they are available to be bought second-hand. Therefore, those consumers who count on the resale market for their basic needs—such as a crib—are out of luck.

Daughter is trying to make do with a used “play yard”. “One of its sides is broken but it has been mended with a metal rod and tape.” Not the safest thing in the world.

Here’s the punchline: the author of that blog entry is CPSC commissioner Nancy Nord.

This conversation led me to wonder if we as Commissioners are doing as much as we should to consider the full consequences of our decisions.

I’m willing to bet that people warned commissioner Nord, and the other commissioners, that this kind of thing would happen: you dry up the used crib market, and people are going to resort to alternatives that may be even less safe than a used crib. I’m also willing to bet that commissioner Nord ignored those warnings. I’m glad she’s had her moment on the road to Damascus, but it seems to me to be too little, too late.