April 10th, 2006

krazy koati

Up and down and all around

At the North-East Line MRT stations they've put up posters warning about the hazards of escalators. I imagine everyone who's gone uninjured on an escalator pictures them to be about as hazardous as stairs, only without the tricky part of walking up or down, but based on the signs they're only slightly more dangerous than chainsaw juggling:

Escalator Injuries -- Did You Know:

  • 8 out of 10 injuries in our stations are caused by the improper use of escalators.
  • 5 out of 10 escalator injuries are by passengers not holding on to the handrail.
  • 8 out of 10 of those injured while on the escalator are aged between 51 and 80 years old.

How can you help?

  • Advise elderly to hold on to the escalator handrail.
  • Use the lift.

I can't imagine most elderly people eagerly accepting the unsolicited advice of strangers warning them against the hazards of escalators. One might also add that those injured on the escalator can't get a moment's sympathy from their friends that doesn't have a bit of a smirk behind it too. But I did look at the signs more seriously after I had an escalator malfunction under me. As I was riding down, the escalator just stopped, and I momentarily lurched forward. I didn't fall, and neither did the other person on the escalator, but we did give the stopped escalator stern looks before going on.

Trivia: Standardization of the United States's weights and measures was managed by Ferdinand Rudolph Hassler, in the 1830s. Source: Measuring America, Andro Linklater.

Currently Reading: Proteus in the Underworld, Charles Sheffield. Writing advice from the unpublished: if your characters are still mumbling 150 pages in about how they don't know why they're there, you're going to give readers the impression that nothing's happened yet.