The cold hard facts of freezing to death

There is no precise core temperature at which the human body perishes from cold. At Dachau's cold-water immersion baths, Nazi doctors calculated death to arrive at around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The lowest recorded core temperature in a surviving adult is 60.8 degrees. For a child it's lower: In 1994, a two-year-old girl in Saskatchewan wandered out of her house into a minus-40 night. She was found near her doorstep the next morning, limbs frozen solid, her core temperature 57 degrees. She lived.

Others are less fortunate, even in much milder conditions. One of Europe's worst weather disasters occurred during a 1964 competitive walk on a windy, rainy English moor; three of the racers died from hypothermia, though temperatures never fell below freezing and ranged as high as 45.

But for all scientists and statisticians now know of freezing and its physiology, no one can yet predict exactly how quickly and in whom hypothermia will strike--and whether it will kill when it does. The cold remains a mystery, more prone to fell men than women, more lethal to the thin and well muscled than to those with avoirdupois, and least forgiving to the arrogant and the unaware.


Movie Theater Popcorn, It Really Is That Expensive

Here you see a movie ticket and kernel popcorn, as scaled to their price increase over the past 80 years. On your left, 1929. On your right, 2009. Needless to say, things have changed.

In 1929, The Great Depression popularized popcorn as a movie time treat since it was cheap, easy, tasty and somewhat filling. Back then, a bag cost you 5 cents. Now, a (small) bag costs you $4.75. Sure, our new bag is probably a bit bigger, but it's vastly more expensive.

In fact, when adjusted for inflation, popcorn prices* have seen an ironic 666% price increase, while movie ticket prices have increased a more moderate 66%. The above picture tells the story to scale, but just in case you're a bigger fan of numbers:

Movie - $4.32 ($0.35 pre-inflation)
Popcorn - $0.62 ($0.05 pre-inflation)

Movie - $7.20
Popcorn - $4.75

What gives? As many of you know, Hollywood takes a majority of ticket proceeds (we're talking upwards of 70%) during the first few weeks a film is released. Not so coincidentally, those first few weeks are also usually a film's best-attended screenings. So theaters fall back to popcorn, soda and candy to make money because Hollywood doesn't see a cut of these sales.

But is this 666% popcorn price increase evil? Obviously, numbers don't lie. Has the increased price of popcorn helped keep ticket prices in check? Possibly, though there's no real way of knowing.

Still, one thing's for sure: Those stadium seats and surround sound systems won't pay for themselves...right?

* Explanation on Data
Movie ticket data is based upon stats by the MPAA/NATO, seen here, with a 2009 estimate based upon the 2008 price. Realize that movie ticket price is always an average of all tickets sold per year, which drops the price greatly due to child tickets, matinees and second run theaters.

Popcorn price was based upon the widespead 5-cent bag of popcorn compared to a small popcorn from the AMC in Brooklyn, OH—which we feel is, if anything, a conservative sampling of movie popcorn prices. We'd love to have an average sale price on movie popcorn across America (just as we do tickets), but that data is not tracked by either the Popcorn Board or the National Association of Concessionaires.


Weather Change Can Trigger Throbbing Headaches

Most people who are prone to headaches or migraines suspect that certain things, such as red wine or strong perfume, can trigger their head pain. Now a new study suggests that rising temperatures could trigger headaches, too.

According to a study published Monday in the journal Neurology, a spike in temperature may be enough to land some headache-prone people in the emergency room. The researchers found that for every 5-degrees-Celsius increase in temperature, the risk of a hospital-related headache visit went up 7.5 percent in the next 24-hour period. And a drop in barometric air pressure, which tends to happen before it rains, was also linked to a greater risk of headaches in the next 48 to 72 hours.

While people may think they’ve got a handle on their migraine triggers, in truth, weather changes may be to blame for at least some of those headaches, says Kenneth J. Mukamal, MD, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “In the summer, you may think that ice cream set off your migraine,” he says. “But it wasn’t the ice cream—it was the temperature increase on that very hot day that led you to eat the ice cream.”

Dr. Mukamal’s team looked at 7,054 patients diagnosed with headaches in the emergency room of Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center over a span of seven years; they compared factors like temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, and pollution for the period immediately preceding and following each patient’s hospital visit. While temperature and barometric pressure were linked to headaches, pollution—which is linked to a greater risk of heart attack and stroke—was not associated with migraines. But Dr. Mukamal isn’t ruling out the possibility. “Our city was not big enough to say for sure that air pollution is off the hook,” he says, adding that a similar study performed in Los Angeles (where air pollution levels are considerably higher) might yield different results.


How NOT To Pull a Jeep Out Of The Mud

"It's a wonder nobody was seriously injured removing this Jeep from the mud."


The Time Machine: START HERE!

An actual interactive choose-your-own-adventure type of YouTube videos with time travel - start with this one, make the choices!


Die Hardererer (Bootleg Edition)

Die Hardererer (Bootleg Edition) by Nicholas Chatfield-Taylor from Nicholas Chatfield-Taylor on Vimeo.

Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard (Bootleg Version) edited down to only the frames containing fire.

Zero Punctuation: House of the Dead: Overkill

"This week, House of the Dead: Overkill versus Killzone 2. Place your bets."


The Front Fell Off!

John Clarke and Bryan Dawe debate the merits of ship design and the concepts of maritime law in this Monty-Python-esque comedy sketch.