05 September 2006

Just do your best to relax

A popular Israeli song starts with "If you fall off a plane in the middle of the night, only deity can save you". Opinions on the subject vary, however.

The inexhaustible source of knowledge and wisdom - Google front page - offered today another advice that will be forever (or, at least, till the opportunity to have a stiff drink presents itself) ingrained in my memory. This time it is a survival manual for a long fall. It is quite long, so I will not bother you with a detailed blow-by-blow analysis, but this quote should suffice:

A commonly held misconception is that falling from an airplane or even just being outside an airplane in flight is fatal. Falling, however, is fairly harmless (although the fear associated with it may be dangerous). Impact is what kills the victim of a fall. It is true that lack of air may cause you to lose consciousness if you find yourself outside an airplane at a high altitude, but you will generally regain consciousness well before you land.

I don't know what caused Google to put this piece (of a doubtful value, to be sure) on its front page. I can make a guess or two, though:

  1. The heavy impact made by Brown's The Da Vinci Code. I mean that unforgettable scene where the hero jumps from a chopper with a piece of tarpaulin and lots of good will. If this is the reason, I should consider my position on Google stock. Not that I have any...
  2. That personal jet the Google founders are outfitting, although I do not believe they are too cheap for a few parachutes. Or a few pieces of tarp, if the push comes to shove...
I, personally, liked the best a piece of statistics found in a paragraph titled Relax: "It has also been shown that people who jump intentionally and those who are intoxicated at the time of the fall have disproportionately higher survival rates than fall victims in general. While the reason for these higher survival rates is unclear, one likely explanation is that people who are drunk or who actually want to die may be more relaxed before and upon impact". Of course, I don't mean that part with jumping intentionally...