Thursday, September 2, 2010
Marmots with hard hats!
I saw this at an exhibitor's booth at the International Society of Explosives Engineers conference last winter and it pretty much blew my mind. I shouldn't have been too surprised, though - it is well established by the work of many eminent rodent biologists that the yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris) is very safety-conscious. Hard hats and steel-toe work boots are the rule around the burrow. These marmots score points with Lisa for practicing good aural hygiene, too, as they're wearing earplugs with at least a 29 dB noise-reduction rating. Shouldn't they be wearing eye protection, though? And what about dust masks? Oh well, Rodent OSHA will let them off the hook, I'm sure, on account of their fuzzy-wuzzy marmot tummies. Just don't do it again, guys. Seriously.
In case you were wondering, the marmots are hawking products to improve performance of "stemming," the inert material (crushed rock 'n' stuff) used to backfill blasting boreholes after the explosives have been installed at the bottom of the hole. The stemming prevents the pressure from the explosion from simply being vented out the borehole.