Could you jump off a bridge or a tall building and survive the fall?

Interesting question answered at The Straight Dope. Apparently, some people have gotten lucky.

  • U.S. Army air force sergeant Alan Magee fell 20,000 feet from an exploding B-17 in 1943 and crashed through the skylight of a French train station. (A lesson emerges: Aim for the skylight.) Though his arm was shattered, he lived too.
  • Luckiest of all was RAF flight sergeant Nicholas Alkemade, who leaped from his burning bomber in 1944 without a parachute at 18,000 feet. After a 90-second plunge, he crashed through tree branches in a pine forest and landed in 18 inches of snow. His only injuries: scratches, bruises, burns, and, in some accounts, a twisted knee.

(via Backwards City)

Terry Ratzmann’s Homepage

This is allegedly the homepage of Terry Ratzmann, the person who killed seven people and himself on Saturday in Wisconsin.

Looks like this is really his homepage. Don’t expect to find any obvious clues on it to what would drive a person to do something like that. Tom McMahon worked at the same company and although he didn’t know him, he has a little bit more info on the subject.

Toilet Paper Algorithm


Although most homes have only single roll holders, most commercial establishments have long ago switched to devices that hold multiple rolls. We decided to install one, so we purchased holder of two rolls, side by side.

We discovered that although we now had two rolls instead of one, the problem was not solved. Both rolls ran out at the same time. Sure, it took twice as long before the rolls emptied, but we were still stuck with the same problem: no more paper. We had discovered that the switch to two rolls meant we had to use more sophisticated behavior: the algorithm for tearing of paper mattered.


Louis Alvarado, U.S. Citizen

This is a damn good read.

They said if you don’t give us what we want, all your family will die. So my father told them, okay, can you give me a week to talk to my son and my two girls and my wife? And they said, it’s not negotiable. He has to come with us. And everybody started crying. My father, my mother, my two sisters…

And they grabbed me by my right arm. And they started dragging me out of my house. And my father got a shotgun he had and cocked it. And then six of them came in and they pointed guns at his head.

(via Metafilter)

Nicotine Nazis

The anti-smokers, of course, bristle at the comparison, quickly pointing out that they are not rounding up smokers and sending them to death camps. Hitler never did that to smokers either. He simply vilified them, taxed them, lied about them, restricted advertising of tobacco, and forbade smoking in public places. Comparing Hitler’s treatment of those he murdered to smokers would be absurd. Comparing Hitler’s treatment of smokers to the behavior of today’s anti-smokers is a perfect apples to apples comparison.

(via Bifurcated Rivets)