From: Brian D Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Feb 06 2002 - 08:58:37 MST
Alejandro Dubrovsky has been kind enough to work with me offlist
and point out errors in my theoretical physics homework. I just
shared this real world story with him and then I thought everyone
could use a laugh...
I worked for a summer during college for a cookie and pastry
company in the lab. One of my jobs was to do quality control tests
in the "jam" room, a room where they made jam for toaster pastries.
The jam room was about 125' by 125' feet and filled with stainless
steel equipment. It had the oddest floor I had ever seen, it was
some sort of nontoxic substance that had been fused directly in
place, so there were no cracks for bacteria. The whole room was
steam sterilized a couple of times a day. That floor was well known
for being dangerously slippery when wet.
Well one day I'm in there doing tests in the corner as the shift
changes, and the lead guy from the first shift is going to start
his first batch of jam.
The jam was made in these giant horizontal mixers. The bowl of the
mixer was a stainless steel 3/4 cylinder with a lip on one edge
about 6' across and 20' long. You would rotate the cylinder
horizontally to add the ingredients, then rotate it vertically to
mix them via a log mixer that ran the length of the cylinder. When
it was ready you slowly rotated the cylinder and a 20 foot stream
of jam poured off into a waiting pre-sterilized stainless steel
car, about 5'across, 3' deep and 20' long.
The first ingredient is dozens of 25 pound blocks of lard, so he
hits the button to open the mixer and walks off to get the cart
loaded with the blocks.
He was in a hurry because he had called in that he was going to be
late that day.
Well what he didn't know was that his buddy on the previous shift
heard he was going to be late, so being a nice guy decided to go
ahead and make his buddies first batch for him. And the new guy
forgot to check the mixer first...
Yep, the mixer was loaded with thousands of pounds of grape jam,
and the mixer with no cart in place, opened at full speed, and a
20' wave of jam came pouring out of the mixer.
Everybody started yelling at the same time as the jam came pouring
out. The mixer operator made a mad dive to get back to the mixer
but hit the jam slick first and promptly slammed into the floor.
Now the jam quickly bounced off the walls and in seconds covered
the entire floor. I was in the corner and when I saw what was
happening, grabbed the ladder to the catwalk in the corner and
scampered out of the way and up to the catwalk to watch the fun.
A dozen guys all dressed in white were now trying desperately not
to end up on the floor covered in grape jam.
A few guys managed to get their feet the exact correct width apart
and stood perfectly still, others got their feet a little too wide
and started doing a slow motion splits till they fell over into the
jam. A couple who got their feet right started drifting slowly
across the slight incline toward the floor drains. Even guys who
were standing up clinging to equipment started falling over if they
made the slightest wrong move.
Pretty soon everyone was down in the jam.
Even attempting to move on hands and knees would generally end up
with your arms/legs splaying outward and ending up face first on
the floor. It was the slipperiest thing I'd ever seen.
But a few careful souls did manage to negotiate their way out,
using the very careful direct lift-and-place method I was talking
Me? when I could stand up on the catwalk after laughing so hard, I
went out the upper deck door and went for help.
Extropy Institute, www.extropy.org
National Rifle Association, www.nra.org, 1.800.672.3888
SBC/Ameritech Data Center Chicago, IL, Local 134 I.B.E.W
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