In ecology there are species known as “keystone species.” They are animals that have an impact on the ecosystem that is disproportionate to their population. I’m starting to think that working with our hands is a keystone skill. It has a disproportionate impact on our inventory of skills. When fixing something, we are forced to apply critical thinking and problem solving skills. To focus on both the general, and how the particular interacts with the general. This is to say nothing of honing skills of observation, organization, imagination, and increasing curiosity. Those skills improve and get applied to other areas of our lives that have nothing to do with building or making.
In his book “Shop Class as Soulcraft” Matthew Crawford examines the notion that when things we posses are mysterious to us, their internal operations opaque, we put them in a position to exert mastery over us. I can’t help but think Motomethod and other “maker shops” like this are tapping into a primal urge to take back some control over our lives. It seems to me that the real benefit of this urge is how our lives are enriched through the improvement of our skills.
“After the flash, nothing happened for about three minutes. Then we rushed outdoors The door was made of glass, a shock wave made it hit us,” said Yekaterina Melikhova.
Later Friday, an asteroid known as the 2012 DA14 as due to come within 17,100 miles of Earth at 2:24 p.m. ET, a record close-approach for an asteroid this size.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the incident showed the need for leading world powers to develop a system to intercept objects falling from space.
“At the moment, neither we nor the Americans have such technologies” to shoot down meteors or asteroids, he said, according to the Interfax news agency.
We don’t have a way to stop planet-killers (although 2012 DB14 isn’t). Not that people don’t have good ideas, but most—if not all, still the most viable solutions—we can’t put into motion. We don’t have a heavy-lift space platform, because we retired the Shuttle.
And even still, the Shuttle wasn’t the most powerful, that title is still held by the Saturn rocket. The preeminent vehicle mankind has ever endeavored was the Saturn, which was designed with slide rulers.
A while back I read “Space Chronicles” by Neil deGrasse Tyson, an interesting albeit somewhat repetitive collection of essays. Tyson makes four very strong arguments for why people should be willing to give a latte’s worth of money a year to NASA and why NASA needs to build a new heavy-lift platform.
- We need to go to Mars. With people. If we ever expect to understand life, answer the question, “How did we get here?” it’ll be on Mars,
- You can thank NASA for pretty much everything. All your Walkmans and airplanes and microwave ovens can trace a near-direct lineage to the space program, and if we want new science, we need to spend money on it
- If an asteroid is out to get us, we can’t do jack about it. Russia is keenly aware of this today,
- A fourth point I can’t ever remember. It was a while back, I read the book right when it came out.
Anyway, shit got real today, this is a stark reminder of how fragile things are. Hug a loved one today, we all got lucky for the trillionth time.
Consumer Reports took a look at a recent study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine which shows that accidental gun injuries are down, but other in-home injuries are on the rise.
The study… looked at data from 2000 to 2008. More than 30,000 people die from accidents in the home each year, the study found. The three leading causes of accidental deaths were poisonings (43 percent), falls (34 percent), and fire or burn injuries (9 percent). Firearm mishaps accounted for just 1 percent of all accidental deaths in the home.
Poisoning, mostly from unintentional drug overdoses, and falls were the most common causes among adults. Suffocation and drowning were the deadliest accidents for children.
The good news is that accidents at home are highly predictable and preventable. The researchers point to key safety interventions you can implement in your home, such as limiting access to prescription medications, supervising children, and having smoke alarms that work.
So there you have it. Buy a gun and shoot the shit out of your ladders, then take all your old pills, pack ‘em up with Tannerite, and send ‘em to hell in a kick-ass explosion.
But I’m curious: if you shoot a steel ladder with the wrong kind of ammo, and you get cut by a ricochet, does that count as a gun or a ladder injury?
Dicks inbound. Seriously, you’ve been warned.