Showing posts with label gadgets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label gadgets. Show all posts

August 12, 2012

Designing Personal Gear: An Army First-Aid Pack

An interesting  article (with short video) on how a piece of military gear—in this case, an individual first-aid pack—is designed at the Natick Soldier Systems Center. (I think that Natick also designed the Polartec-insulated Generation III Extreme Cold Weather System clothing for the military.)

In the video,  the  designer speaks of starting with "an existing SAW gunner pouch" for the first version of the first-aid kit.

Ah, that's where the individual fire shelter pouch came from too! It sure fits the definition of "just kind of a brick on your side that gets in the way of everything." If you were issued the Large model, it's too big for the quick-extraction pocket on many fire packs.

August 24, 2010

NYT Article on National Parks Search and Rescue Deconstructed

A year ago I linked to a news story about "Yuppie 911," the phenomenon of people with GPS-enabled emergency beacons punching the panic button when conditions became slightly uncomfortable.

Some of the same anecdotes, however, were recyled in a fresh New York Times story about an alleged increase of tech-enabled Search and Rescue calls. That article in turn is fisked by Slate's Jack Shafer:

To buttress the bogus headlines, the Times stacks a bunch of anecdotes about how park visitors have gotten injured, lost, or killed while using technology. The Times tells us about a park visitor who gets gored while videotaping a buffalo; about a picture-taker who falls 75 feet because he was backing up at the Grand Canyon as he took pictures; about a lost hiker who cell-phones in a request for hot chocolate to park rangers; about a group of hikers who press the emergency button on their satellite-location device repeatedly, one time doing so to inform park rangers that their water "tasted salty"; and about a pair of novice whitewater-rafters who drowned after building a log raft and attempting to videotape their voyage down the Virgin River as an entry in a Man vs. Wild TV competition. The men had little camping experience, not much food, and no overnight gear.
According to numbers Shafer trots out, the overall number of rescues in national parks has actually fallen since the 1990s.

Search-and-rescue operations conducted between 1992 and 2009 actually peaked at 5,761 in 1998, according to the NPS. Over that same period, the average number of annual search-and-rescue missions was 4,027, which means that the figure the Times ended up ballyhooing ("topped 3,500") is below the 18-year average.

In other words, there has been no dramatic increase in the number of NPS search-and-rescue operations in the era of the mobile phone, the satellite phone, GPS, and the emergency beacon. Technology isn't leading more park visitors into trouble.

He does not explain why. Fewer backcountry users? Better outdoor gear? Better experienced backcountry users? 

 Via Ann Althouse, with a discussion of "bogosity" versus "bogusity."

SORT OF RELATED:  NPR's Terry Gross interviews the Times' Matt Richtel, who has been writing on the effects of communication technologies on the brain and behavior.

Recently Richtel accompanied several scientists, all of whom are studying the brain, on a weeklong retreat to a remote corner of Utah. The rules of the vacation? No cell phones, no Internet access and no technological distractions.

"Partly they wanted to go on vacation and see it through a neurologic lens," he says. "They wanted to take a look at what was happening to their brain and their perspectives — and by extension, ours — as they got off the grid."

December 17, 2006

Bureaucrats and bear spray

Double-checking the Canadian customs regulations to see how much wine we could bring over the border, I came across this priceless paragraph:

Mace or pepper spray that is used for the purpose of injuring, immobilizing or otherwise incapacitating any person is considered a prohibited weapon. You cannot import it into Canada. Aerosol or similar dispensers that contain substances capable of repelling or subduing animals are not considered weapons if the label of the container specifically indicates that they are for use against animals.

Um, isn't capsaicin capsaicin? I notice that the spray in the easy-to-reach side pocket of my hiking pack says "for law enforcement use only," which is nonsense, since I bought it through a retail seller, and I am not a cop. If it had a picture of a grizzly bear rampant on the can, it would then be OK?

Maybe I could cut a picture of a bear out of Outdoor Life and glue it on the can.

Bureaucratic idiocy knows no boundaries. I think I will take my chances. It's in a hiking pack full of outdoor gear, and if anyone asks, it's "bear spray." Which it is.

Oh, and apparently 1.5 liters of wine per adult is the limit--as long as you don't plan to let a Canadian citizen drink it, thus depriving the government of tax revenue. So no gift-wrapping the good stuff from Black Mesa Winery.

December 13, 2006

You need this knife?

If, in Colorado or elsewhere, you walk alone in the outdoors, you need a knife. But maybe not this knife.