Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Storm Shelter?

Folks out in Oklahoma are discussing this shelter business again....for the 500th time.

You see....Oklahoma is this odd place where soil is such....that it doesn't make much sense to dig a basement.  It's all mostly red clay, which leads to leaky basements, and folks get all hyper about that kind of situation.

Yet, there's this feeling that you got to do something for schools and public centers.

Years ago, I worked in an office with a couple of fairly bright engineers.  The topic of tornado shelters came up one day, and you got an enormous amount of focus on a problem for fifteen minutes.

As my associates pointed out....the vast amount of tornado activity relate to a category one or two tornado, which tends to be 300 to a 1000 feet across.  If you jump into the center closet of such a house, or the bathtub.....it's a ninety percent chance of no harm.  The basement?  Almost one hundred percent chance of survival.  The roof might be blown off and windows blasted out, but the bulk of the house ought to stand.

House trailers?  Just forget about survival....trailers aren't made for any scale of a tornado.

So then you come to the category three and four, where the center closet probably isn't going to help, and the house will be destroyed.  The basement?  If you had reinforced beams to ensure nothing falls down on top of you.....you'd make it.  Otherwise, you might be crushed anyway.

Category five tornado?  Forget about the basement entirely.

So we came to this sensitive topic of storm shelters.  My one associate noted as a kid....his dad's shelter was 300 feet from the rear of the house, requiring a full minute or more to get there and another minute to open and get everyone down into the mess.  His dad had trees all around the shelter, and they would have fallen on top of the door, and prevented any exit.

Another associate brought up the topic of spiders and snakes, which is traditionally the biggest problem with southern storm shelters.  No one ever clears out the shelter or fills the holes.

In a category five, the storm shelter is the only way to survive.  The odds of such a storm?  Well, it's an interesting thing....they are so rare....that it's just not worth worrying about them.

So, here's my suggestion.  In your garage, you want to drill some pretty deep holes down and anchor a 3/4" steel plate device onto the floor.  You want some lead pipes capable of holding up this mess against a car or tree falling right on top.  You want a couple of air holes, but frankly it's there to just hold you down and not allow anything to come and crush you.  I admit, you might be there a while because the door won't open (it ought to open to the inside anyway), but you can't tell how these things go.

Frankly, you could do this with your buddy on a Saturday afternoon, with junk from Loews, and have yourself a plain vanilla shelter that you can jump into within sixty seconds, with your cellphone on you as you close the door.  You might have to call your cousin to get you out later.

Course, statistics are in your favor....ninety-nine percent of America, has never had a tornado roar through....in ten thousand years.  That's mighty fine odds....up until the God deems the numbers out of whack.  Even God could arrange for Mississippi State to one day to win the NCAA football championship.

In the News

It didn't really make it into the big-boy press, or any of the nightly news episodes....but the Peace Corps did an interesting thing yesterday.....they agreed to sponsor and take....same-sex couples.

So you can imagine this deal.  Karl and Joe, a married couple from Maryland....will join up with the Peace Corps.  Karl and Joe get sent off to some third-world country that really doesn't have much of a positive view of this type of sexual affair.  The political leadership will question the arrival of Karl and Joe on day one....to basically freeze them out of any real contribution.  They live in a hut at the end of the village, and basically arrange rocks around the village streets because there's an uneasy nature about having the guys out in public.  Karl and Joe eventually return to the US and talk for years about their contribution in some third-world village, but never revealing the real accomplishments.

I suspect that the Peace Corps had some pressure drawn onto it.  They will try to find decent jobs for such couples and try to make the best out of this.  There might be five or six countries where such things might be accepted.  Most African countries?  I'd forget about.  It's likely to be more Asian-related.

How many gay couples would join up?  This would be an interesting number, but I'm guess over five years....it doesn't amount to more than ten couples max.

In general, there's just not a lot of people who jump up and get this fancy idea of running off to some island in the Pacific to teach kids math skills, and paint buildings.  If you went state by state, which the Peace Corp would hate to show the numbers....few of these volunteers (by my humble opinion) come from southern states.

My guess is that we will get some comedy in five years....a lesbian comedy movie, where Jo and Jo Ann got mixed up in the Peace Corps, and fell off the Earth....into some island jungle situation where pygmy tribal folks got all hyped up on the lesbian gals, and made them king-and-queen.  

Medical Literature

Some smart folks have gone out and done some research on all the fancy hand-outs that doctors, clinics, hospitals, school nurses, and the medical community continually hand out to people.  There's some general consensus, which got published in the JAMA Internal Medicine publication this month (thanks to Fox News for the note).

They've all come to realize what most of us have said for the last twenty years....the commentary in the hand-outs....is too complicated for the average American to grasp.

You have a number of medical experts, who have six to eight years of college, who sit and write these publications.  It's nothing personal with me.....but every time you see one of these and attempt to read it....you need to stumble over various phrases and words that you aren't prepared to read.

Last year, the dentist office wanted to hand me literature on gum disease.  I ran through the hand-out and probably got about half of the message.

What the medical establishment needs to do.....is simply hire people who write around the eighth-grade level, and use simple graphics to tell a story.  Thirty percent of the people who read these hand-outs....probably understand every single word, but the rest of us?  The range goes up and down.

The sad thing here is that there is a need for medical literature, and they could write it in a way to be understood.  So far, they just haven't grasped the problem.