Daily Archives: September 22, 2010

David Clark Company meets Red Bull (and does awesome stuff with them)

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

The July issue of Esquire profiles a guy named Felix Baumgartner, who is trying to set the world record for the farthest free fall. He will ride a balloon up 23 miles into the stratosphere and fall from there. (Red Bull is all over this.) It’s so high up, in fact, that he’ll need to wear a spacesuit to do it. The company making that suit: Worcester’s own David Clark Company. From the article:

For example, if the visor of the David Clark Company pressure suit that Felix will be wearing were to unexpectedly pop open, as did the visor of the David Clark Company pressure suit that Nick was wearing, several things would happen in quick succession.

First, the air in his lungs would instantly multiply 120 times over in volume. If Felix reacts to the shock of the explosive decompression by holding his breath, his lungs will rupture like overinflated balloons. If he does let the air escape through his mouth and nose, he will soon experience the novel sensation of the saliva on his tongue beginning to boil. He will be nearly sixty thousand feet above “Armstrong’s Line,” where water’s boiling point drops to 98.6 degrees. Within moments, the water in his subcutaneous tissues will begin vaporizing as well. This, in combination with the expansion of any interior gases — unfarted methane in his guts, for example — will, in a process called ebullism, quickly cause Felix’s own body to inflate, becoming as tumescent as a bodybuilder’s. Useful consciousness, mercifully, will be gone within fifteen seconds, probably sooner, though he might remain alive, swelling, distorting, for five to eight minutes.

The “Nick” referenced above is Nick Piantanida, who attempted a jump from this height in 1966. It did not go well. “I’m not worried about the suit,” Baumgartner says. (In video, linked to above.)

David Clark has most recently been in the news because of their proximity to CSX’s rail yard expansion, but this is much cooler.



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Keeping track of the pit bull (and dangerous dog) ordinance

Posted by Jeremy Shulkin

A couple weeks ago we tried to explain what happened the last time the city council voted in favor of enacting a pit bull and dangerous dog ordinance.

A tug of war developed over who would be on a committee to establish the parameters of how to define a dangerous dog (or how to keep a dog away from the “dangerous dog” moniker) ending with Councilor Paul Clancy holding the item because he didn’t want to see an ad-hoc committee be formed of outside “experts” (veterinarians, animal control officers, etc.) rather than done on a council subcommittee.

Last night, Councilor Kate Toomey, whose idea it was to form this committee and frustrated by the politics involved, sent the motion to the City Manager’s office. It’s now in the City Manager’s hands to decide whether or not it’ll go to subcommittee or if an ad-hoc group of experts will be named to bring their recommendations to the council.

So what does that mean for pit bull (and other dangerous dog) owners? You’ve still got awhile to wait.

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