Archive for May, 2011

The Man Turned into a Balloon….

May 26, 2011 Leave a comment

The morning newspaper today reported of an unfortunate accident, A New Zealand  truck driver fell backwards with some force on to the fitting which pierced his buttock and started forcing air in through the wound at 100 pounds per square inch. Unable to move the man had no choice but to lie there as his body became increasingly inflated like a balloon. Luckily his workmates nearby heard his screams and came to help him, he suffered moderate injuries but lived to see another day.

I never knew it can happen, but then it has so i wanted to look a little bit further on the same.  The unfortunate truck driver is Steven McCormak and this is what has happened

He was was standing on his truck’s foot plate Saturday when he slipped and fell, breaking a compressed air hose off an air reservoir that powered the truck’s brakes.

He fell hard onto the brass fitting, which pierced his left buttock and started pumping air into his body

“I felt the air rush into my body and I felt like it was going to explode from my foot,” he told local media from his hospital bed in the town of Whakatane, on North Island’s east coast.

“I was blowing up like a football,” he said. “I had no choice but just to lay there, blowing up like a balloon.”

McCormack’s workmates heard his screams and ran to him, quickly releasing a safety valve to stop the air flow, said Robbie Petersen, co-owner of the trucking company.

He was rushed to the hospital with terrible swelling and fluid in one lung. Doctors said the air had separated fat from muscle in McCormack’s body, but had not entered his bloodstream.

McCormack, 48, said his skin felt “like a pork roast” – crackling on the outside but soft underneath

I am surprised he did not die from air getting into his blood stream, he’s also lucky it pierced his butt anywhere else would have been catastrophic, would have resulted in internal injuries or  probably have crushed all his organs and met a terrible end. He is one lucky man, i guess an instant celebrity.

Me wonder how are they going get all that gas out…. :0) i guess the natural way…..

The Saloon

May 25, 2011 Leave a comment

I was in this new fancy saloon last week and was audience to a conversation between the barber, (probably I should call him a stylist would not want to hurt his feeling) and his client. The guy on the seat was middle aged in a business suit and was absolutely clear and articulate what he wanted the stylist to do.

He said “Fauxhawk, with not too much on the top, a slight touch up on the sides, short sideburns, a curved back with a blending end.”

The stylist gave his cool professional stare at his client from the back of the chair into the mirror handling the hair and added “great will add some texture to the hawk, will relax the hair a bit on the top and blend the hawk, and let’s keep the current texture on the side. You need it asymmetrical?”

“Keep it asymmetrical” came prompt and confident reply.

I sat in awe and looked at the work of art wondered what Fauxhawk was. While I knew what short side burns are but wondered what is an asymmetrical, relaxed, blending, textured hawk was….

My Barber Shop

When I go to my regular barber I usually say “SHORT” he did what he had to do. He asked me one question in the middle regarding my sideburns to which I always said “SHORT”. We discussed better things like movies, politics, Delhi and any random topic that he wanted to talk while have a cutting chai (well we also have a cutting chai here  in Dubai) and it is over before it starts. By the way I always wondered -When one barber cuts another barber’s hair, which one does all the talking? Anyway It is his conversation that I enjoy in an otherwise drab experience.  At the end when he done talking, he brings a mirror to show my sides and back of my head to which, I always said “Perfect”. I always said perfect for I did not want to upset my barber. He is the guy who has a razor and don’t want him upset when it is right next to my throat.

I adhere to a piece of advice given to me a by a dear friend long time ago “never upset a barber or a chef you never know what might get into you”. If you are a movie buff like me you will remember 1933 W.C.Fields short film, The barber Shop where he plays Cornelius O’Hare as a an inept barber who maintains his good-humored optimism in his small town shop despite having a hen-pecking harridan for a wife and a total lack of sartorial skill.

Cornelius O’Hare: Haircut or shave?
Mr. Flood: [laconically] Yeah.
Cornelius O’Hare: I beg your pardon, isn’t your name Flugg?
Mr. Flood: Yeah.
Cornelius O’Hare: I thought so. I didn’t recognize your face when you first came in.
Mr. Flood: [deadpan] No, it’s all healed up since I was in here last.”

Going back to present day, in this fancy saloon I dreaded what I am going to say when it is my turn. If I wanted something new and fancy hairstyle from my Indian barber, I would ask him that I need a new style to which he gave me a portfolio –stardust or a cineblitz and I would point a style of my favorite movie star. If I asked him what the style is called he would promptly give a name. The last time I asked  him he said it was called the Ghajini Style.

I was sure that the Syrian stylist here would not have been aware of a Khiladi style or DCH Cut. I was sure he did not even know the basic SRK cut. I scampered around for a movie magazine but found none. The Saloon had Wheels, National Geographic, and Popular mechanics. It did not even have Ahlan Masala, some fancy saloon it was. I was worried how he would react to if I said short. I might just end up getting a Ghajini cut. I also did not want sound like a nincompoop who comes to a fancy saloon not knowing what he wants. All the more I work in the fashion industry and I had a reputation to keep.

But then this was the age of technology and I was in a fancy saloon that has WIFI and my phone came to my rescue. So scampered the web to figure out the latest hair style that I can sport, since searching for name was a difficult, I looked for Hollywood actors and their style that I can sport. If there is no Ghajini cut there must be a Ben Affleck cut or something. The thing with Hollywood stars is they are tall handsome and they can really sport anything but I have an office to go to. It was more difficult than looking at khans of Bollywood and making a decision. There were so many of them and all of them really looked cool and there was hardly anytime. The Wi-Fi was slow and each photo was taking more than a minute and it was the longest minute of my life.

Finally Captain William Lennox from the transformers aka Josh Duhamel came to my rescue. There was a small article about Transformers in popular Mechanics and it showed him..  Googled him and valla It was the closest that I wanted and I got it in time. I was visibly realaxed even though I did not know what it was called, I could bluff my way thruough.

When it was my turn  sat on my surgons seat I had my script ready:

“ hi I need a short haircut, more like the one in this picture” I gave him the iphone.

He felt my hair and looked at me and my current haircut and asked  “ what number do you want on the sides”

What does Josh have in the picture ? I aksed “2 I guess” he said

I was not sure what he ment but I said “ then 2 it is”

“I am going to do a short navy spike, with a slightly longer spikes at the fornt and a rough morning texture on the top. Will keep the side at 2 and a triangle sideburn, with a curve or a blending back border as you wish.”

With a air releif I said “Give me a blending border and a square sideburn”.

After 15 minutes of anxity I got out of the chair with a 40$ less in my pocket a smile on my face and one singel word “PERFECT”


Now I know what to say to the barber who is not from the subcontinent and I have a name to the hairstyle that I sport- A NAVY SPIKE with a morning wiff texture a blending back with a short square sideburns. I Feel educated……

By the Way this is what a the client before me wanted – Fauxhawk

The fauxhawk haircut emerged in the early 2000s, taking on a new trend from the earlier punk rock mohawk and frohawk. In parts of London, England, it’s commonly known as a Hoxton fin. With its newer, more modern-styled look, it became more popular when worn by celebrities such as soccer pro David Beckham.

This is what the Stylist Suggested to him

Understanding Japan’s Nuclear Crisis

May 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Understanding Japan’s Nuclear Crisis

Following the events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors in Japan has been challenging. At best, even those present at the site have a limited view of what’s going on inside the reactors themselves, and the situation has changed rapidly over the last several days. Meanwhile, the terminology involved is somewhat confusing—some fuel rods have almost certainly melted, but we have not seen a meltdown; radioactive material has been released from the reactors, but the radioactive fuel currently remains contained.

Over time, the situation has become a bit less confused, as cooler heads have explained more about the reactor and the events that have occurred within it. What we’ll attempt to do here is aggregate the most reliable information we can find, using material provided by multiple credible sources. We’ve attempted to confirm some of this information with groups like the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy but, so far, these organizations are not making their staff available to talk to the press.

Inside a Nuclear Reactor

Nuclear reactors are powered by the fission of a radioactive element, typically uranium. There are a number of products of this reaction, but the one that produces the power is heat, which the fission process gives off in abundance. There are different ways to extract electricity from that heat, but the most common way of doing so shares some features with the first steam engines: use it to boil water, and use the resulting pressure to drive a generator.

Radioactivity makes things both simpler and more complex. On the simpler side, fission will readily occur underwater, so it’s easy to transfer the heat to water simply by dunking the nuclear fuel directly into it.

In the reactor design used in Japan, the fuel is immersed in water, which boils off to generate power, is cooled, and then returns to the reactor. The pressure vessel and primary containment keep radioactivity inside. (Ars Technica)

Unfortunately, the radioactivity complicates things. Even though the fuel is sealed into rods, it’s inevitable that this water will pick up some radioactive isotopes. As a result, you can’t just do whatever you’d like with the liquid that’s been exposed to the fuel rods. Instead, the rods and water remain sealed in a high-pressure container and linked pipes, with the hot water or steam circulated out to drive machinery, but then reinjected back into the core after it has cooled, keeping a closed cycle.

The water recirculation doesn’t just let us get power out of the reactor; it’s essential to keeping the reactor core cool. Unless the heat of decay is carried away from the core, its temperature will rise rapidly, and the fuel and its structural support will melt.

The Fission Reaction

Uranium ore. (Marchin Wichary/Flickr)

On its own, the uranium isotope used in nuclear reactors will decay slowly, releasing a minimal amount of heat. However, one of the decay products is a neutron, which can strike another atom and induce that to split; other neutrons are produced as the products of that split decay themselves. At high enough densities, this chain reaction of neutron-induced fission can produce a nuclear explosion. In a nuclear reactor, the fuel density is low enough that this isn’t a threat, and the rate of the fission can be controlled by inserting or removing rods of a material that absorbs neutrons, typically boron.

Completely inserting control rods to limit uranium’s fission, however, doesn’t affect what’s happened to the products of previous reactions. Many of the elements that are produced following uranium’s split are themselves radioactive, and will decay without needing any encouragement from a neutron. Some of the neutrons from the reactor will also be absorbed by atoms in the equipment or cooling water, converting those to radioactive isotopes. Most of this additional radioactive material decays within the span of a few days, so it’s not a long-term issue. But it ensures that, even after a reactor is shut down by control rods, there’s enough radioactive decay around to keep things hot for a while.

All of which makes the continued operation of the plant’s cooling system essential. Unfortunately, cooling system failures have struck several of the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi.

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