Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Can I Get You Something?

Suppose you were down in the hole
But were not a mole
And were thus unaccustomed to life 700 meters underground
Where you are now found.
And suppose that everything that people could send to you had to fit into a hole barely the size of your fist—
What’s on your list?

Seriously... I have been thinking about this for a few days. The hole is narrower than a wine bottle (besides, the experts are telling them they can't give the trapped miners alcohol--or cigs, for that matter), and some 700 meters long. You are trapped with 32 others, which limits the amount of time available for getting you your own personal stuff. If something gets stuck, it needs to be pulled up again, which further wastes time. Quite a technical problem to begin with, let alone the personal variables!
The logistics of first designing and then sending a world of supplies down more than 2,200 feet through a hole not much bigger than a lemon has challenged the Chilean engineers and their counterparts from around the world, including NASA scientists and submarine commanders.

"That's the size of the tube by which we can supply them," said Chilean Health Minister Jaime Manalich as he formed a small circle with his hands. "Everything we develop must be this size or smaller."

Manalich described a laboratory of inventors behind the scenes who are designing everything, including collapsible cots and miniature sandwiches for lunch.
So... what's on your list? If you get greedy, 32 people will put you at the back of the line. If you don't speak up, you get nothing.

Me? I've slept on rocks before, I can wait on the cot. Roll some writing paper around a pen or two, and that ought to slide right down. That, and a loaded MP3 player with earbuds, and I'll wait in the back of the line for a long time.


Thomas Atkinson said...

Man, I'm embarrassed to even share initials with this nut. Meanwhile, my iPod was the first thing I thought of, if I was trapped in a hole. What an age we live in! I like the odd meter of this one, Cuttlefish. Brilliant, as always.

Cuttlefish said...

(Note--Thomas Atkinson's comment refers to some of DM's mess, which I have removed.)

george.w said...

Yep, iPod. And run a thin fibre-optic cable with a little wireless base station at the end, through the hole, so they can have Internet access.

Much bigger problem will be the miners themselves. Pretty good odds at least one is mentally ill in some way, or was ignoring a health problem that is about to blow up.

Also love the meter on this one.

Epinephrine said...

Agreed with the mp3 player idea. Too bad my e-reader wouldn't slide down the tube, I'd be desperate for some reading material. I suppose an mp3 player with an expandable memory and a bunch of audio books crammed onto micro SD cards would be ok. And a way of powering it.

Cuttlefish said...

Ha! I'd forgotten about power and recharging! Does Radio Shack make a power cable 700 meters long? 33 people sharing the charger is problematic too!