One Bad Decision Costs A Life

Stacy Konwiser was the head tiger keeper at the zoo in Palm Beach. She was skilled and experienced and knew all of the protocols required for handling the tigers safely and vets in fleet. Nonetheless, she was attacked and killed by a tiger in an area that was clearly marked as being open to tigers. This was an area known as the tiger night house.

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While many recent cases of people and animals being injured or killed in zoos have been caused by lack of safety precautions, this was not the case here. The Palm Beach Zoo is vigilant in establishing and following effective safety standards and protocols. One such rule is that no handler or keeper is allowed to enter areas of active tiger access. The bottom line is that Ms Konwiser simply shouldn’t have been inside of that enclosure.
Anyone who has ever had the experience of being able to view tigers “up-close-and-personal” (as any zoo keeper has) knows that they are massively huge, extremely powerful and can be quite deadly. When touring the zookeepers’ access areas in a San Diego tiger sanctuary, I had one jump up against a chain link fence as I passed by just on the other side. It was a humbling (and terrifying) experience, to say the least.
No one knows why Ms. Konwiser entered the tiger enclosure. She certainly knew of both the protocol and the inherent danger of entering an area where a tiger was roaming freely. We can only assume that she mistakenly thought the tiger was not able to enter the enclosure or that she simply experienced a lapse in judgment.
When the attack occurred, there was other keepers present and they attempted to save Ms Konwiser. The tiger was sedated with tranquillizer darts. This decision was made for several reasons:

1. Use of lethal bullets could have endangered Ms Konwiser and others due to the likelihood of ricochets.
2. The rare Malaysian tiger is one of just 250 remaining worldwide.
3. The tiger was not agitated or unusually aggressive. Its response to an intruder into its area was normal behaviour.

While some may criticise the decision not to kill the tiger, the fact is Ms Konwiser would likely have made the same decision if she were in the place of those who came to her rescue. Because the tiger was not exhibiting unusual behaviour and the incident would not have taken place had protocol been followed, there are no plans to euthanise the animal.

This sombre incident should be a reminder to people who encounter obvious danger on a daily basis, as well as to the rest of us going about our routine, safe, everyday lives. Very often, we make careless decisions and trust to luck to keep us safe; even though, we know we are taking a risk. Ms Konwiser may have thought she would be safe just stepping into the tiger night house for a moment, just one time; however, that proved to be untrue.

Remember that rules are in place for a reason, and if you bend them by driving without your seatbelt, texting while driving, failing to lock your house doors and gates and so forth, you actually take your life in your hands.

When you go along practising these unsafe habits for quite a while with no consequences, you become more and more cavalier about it. Sooner or later it will catch up with you. Unfortunately, in many cases when one person disregards safety rules, many people end up paying the price. One bad decision can cost a life.

Why Banning Reverse Engineering Is Absurd

If there’s one thing that can throw anyone for a loop, it’s discovering that vital, life-saving technology is legally a black box and arboricultural consultant. That is, the tech can not be tinkered with for any reason, not even to evaluate how well it’s working and make changes to ensure protection against malfunction. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening. Pacemakers, devices that force a person’s heart to beat on a regular pattern, are considered black box technology. Tinkering with them is completely illegal because according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, there’s no difference between medical, life-saving technology and a Taylor Swift song.

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The DMCA enshrines in law something known as Technological Protection Measures, otherwise referred to as TPMs. These are essentially the different systems via which copyright holders are allowed to restrict access to a “work”. This may have originally been intended for use with songs and movies, but due to the wording of the law can apply to things like software. The law allows for restrictions such as various forms of encryption, password protections, or any number of other things. Thanks to the DMCA, it’s illegal to attempt to bypass any of these TPMs. Again, this is due to the fact that the entertainment industry was fearful that hackers might attempt to access their copyrighted material such as songs and movies. Unfortunately, the DMCA also makes reverse engineering illegal, since it can be viewed as a form of TPM circumvention.

Luckily, the DMCA does allow for certain exemptions. Every three years, affected parties are allowed to request they be excluded from the TPM rules should they feel that the laws are restricting access to legitimate activities. Currently, there are 44 proposals that were collected in 2014. This year, we get to see a number of rights holders and petitioners go head to head. They’ll be making their arguments, both for and against the exemptions in a number of hearings held before the Copyright Office. Eventually, likely after yet another round of hearings and even more reviews, the Office will release its decision on the various proposals.

The desired exemptions tend to fall into one of two broad categories: computer security and interoperability. The Copyright Office managed to narrow the 44 proposals down to 27 classes of materials.

All of the proposals seem fairly reasonable. But the question is, will the Copyright Office see it the same way, or are they going to disagree?

According to Pamela Samuelson, who currently works as the co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, the Office is unlikely to see it the same way. According to her, if the past is any indication of the future, then the chances are quite high that the Copyright Office is going to deny a large majority of the requested exceptions, no matter how much sense they might make.

Samuelson feels that Congress should have adopted a much more narrow anti-circumvention rule in the first place.

Safely Transferring Chemicals

Chemicals are a necessity in the modern world. The world is a big place with billions of people relying on chemicals barrel pump to make medications, plastics, and any myriad of products for home, commercial, and industrial use. The issue is that the raw chemicals themselves are often caustic and harmful, but need to be moved and transported worldwide.

To do this safely, 55-gallon drums and something called chemical drum pumps is employed. The drums also protect from leaching the chemicals into the environment, which keeps people, animals, and land safe from the death and destruction that chemicals can cause.

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A handful of very useful chemicals is also extremely corrosive. They need to be handled with extreme care to prevent damage, destruction, and injury. The U.S. alone produces $770 billion of the world’s chemicals annually. That means transferring and transporting chemicals safely is a top priority.

Chemical drum pumps are vessels that allow the safe transfer of chemicals for transport and storage purposes. The two most widely used chemicals are sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid. Sulfuric acid, unfortunately, is so dangerous it causes blindness and chemical burns. It is highly caustic and easily strips surfaces, even skin off of people and animals.

  • Hydrochloric acid is another highly corrosive chemical that’s dangerous to the skin. Additionally, it is best kept away from mucous membranes and the eyes. And, ensure that anyone coming into contact has on a respiratory, or breathing mask. If the fumes are inhaled, it leads to ulceration of the lungs. The individual will experience chest pain, coughing, oedema of the lungs and inflammation.
  • Nitric acid is also highly corrosive to the body. Mild exposure causes irritation and skin thickening or hardening while adding a yellow tinge to the skin. Nitric acid is known to cause permanent damage with prolonged direct contact, while inhalation proves deadly in many cases.
  • Acetic acid is dangerous when digested, particularly if there is a 25% solution or stronger ingested. Then it is deadly to animals and humans, in addition to being corrosive to eyes, membranes, and skin.
  • Aqueous ammonia is explosive and an environment hazard. Avoid letting it into the environment, and avoid direct contact. Do not ingest it It’s harmful to eyes, skin, and lungs, along with the digestive tract. It can cause blindness lung disease and death.

All of these chemicals can be corrosive when transferred using chemical drum pumps. It calls for extreme care where safety is concerned. In addition, the equipment must be cleaned thoroughly. Of course, safety precautions and regulations need to be followed.