If you take a relaxing stroll in the woods, be prepared to dodge hunters as they plummet out of the sky and become one with Mother Earth.
I saw an interesting tidbit of trivia on the Scientific American website last year. The topic was Lucy, a female of the hominin species Australopithecus afarensis. Discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, Lucy has been dated to about 3.2 million years.
(Source: Screenshot from Nature Video)
on the Scientific American
website features a video showing how scientists used 3D printing technology to create models of Lucy's bones. The result showed a breakage pattern consistent with falling out of a tree.
The reason I mention this here is that I recently discovered that more than 3,000 hunters in America manage to fall out of trees each year, and these are only the ones we know about because they require hospitalization. I'm sure Lucy would be impressed to hear that we're keeping the old traditions alive (or not, as the case might be).
The problem is the use of ladder stands. I'd never even heard of a ladder stand before. It turns out that this involves a seat mounted on the top of a metal ladder. The first task is to raise the stand up so it's leaning against the tree. This can require four or more people in the case of the larger stands, which can be as much as 40-feet tall.
The next chore is for our brave lads to draw straws to see who is to ascend the ladder to secure the top of the stand to the tree. It may not surprise you to learn that liquid refreshments are occasionally consumed to establish the desired ambience and ensure that all present are relaxed, refreshed, and feeling no pain (at least, in the short term).
It may also not surprise you to discover that climbing an unsecured 40-foot ladder leaning against a tree after quaffing a beer or three doesn’t exactly improve one's prospects for long-term survival.
If I decide to take a relaxing stroll in the woods, am I really going to have to duck and dodge hunters as they plummet out of the sky and
splatter land all around me?
We live in the 21st Century, for goodness sake. We are basking in the golden age of technology. Is there nothing that can be done to save our brave boys from becoming footnotes in the Darwin Awards? Well, I'm glad you asked, because a capriciously cunning contrivance called Jack The Gripper is about to enter the hunting stage with a fanfare of
(Source: Bruce Till and Bob Cuffe)
This little scamp is the brainchild of Bob and Bruce -- the two guys who sit in the offices on either side of yours truly. They've just finished the prototype shown above, and they tell me that they are currently looking for partners to take Jack The Gripper to production.
The bay outside my office was already full to bursting with my hobby projects and my virtual reality system. Now these are accompanied by the sounds of Bob and Bruce playing with Jack The Gripper, which involved them constructing a small forest of fake trees. I tell you, you'd have to see my office to believe it.
If you want to discover more about how Jack The Gripper came to be, including the software, electronics, and various interesting discoveries along the way, check out my No one expected Jack the Gripper column on our sister site at Embedded.com.
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting