Monday, October 2, 2017

A Lightbulb Moment


Theft of electricity is not unique to South Africa and is an extremely dangerous undertaking, magnified by ten when the person doing the handiwork, doesn’t have the first clue.

17 April 2017, South Carolina USA, unable to pay their electricity bill, a family living in the Friendship community near Seneca had gone without power for several days. Although their service provider Blue Ridge Electric Company does advocate that there are options available to those who cannot pay, in this case, an alternative solution was explored.

In his bid to obtain grid power, the South Carolinian leaned an aluminium ladder up against a pole, climbed up and attached jumper cable clips to an energized conductor. A witness heard a shotgun like sound as 7200 volts arced from the primary wires across jumper cables (designed for 12 volts), through the man's body, down the ladder and into the ground.

After having been jolted from the top of the pole and thrown down to the ground, the man was taken to hospital and with contusions and electrical burns. Having amazingly survived, one wonders what bold endeavour he will attempt next, he is after all, truly a bright spark.

 Reference: darwinawards.com

Ernest Roper
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Saturday, September 2, 2017

I forgot it Wasn’t the Weekend!


CareerBuilder is an international recruitment agency with subsidiaries in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. According to a recent survey of theirs, more than 1 in 4 workers come to work late at least once a month and these are some of the popular excuses, the survey exposed.

  • I forgot it wasn’t the weekend.
  • I put petroleum jelly in my eyes.
  • I had to watch a soccer game that was being played in Europe.
  • I thought Flag Day was a legal holiday.
  • My pet turtle needed to visit the exotic animal clinic.
  • The wind blew the deck off my house.
  • I overslept because my kids changed all the clocks in the house.
  • I was cornered by a moose.
  • My mother locked me in the closet.
  • The pizza I ordered was late being delivered, and I had to be home to accept/pay for it.
  • The sunrise was so beautiful that I had to stop and take it in.
  • My mother-in-law wouldn’t stop talking.
  • My dad offered to make me a grilled cheese sandwich, and I couldn’t say no.

As is often the case with information such as this, one is left with more questions than answers: Who are these people, who is it that employs them and most curiously, who helps them tie their shoelaces in the morning?

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager

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Friday, August 4, 2017

I Sincerely Regret my Action!


Construction is by its very nature a stressful line of work. Often there are astronomical amounts of money involved and mistakes are exceedingly costly. It is undoubtably a high stakes game and it goes without say that on construction sites around the world, tempers do flare up and things can get heated.

The classified ad as depicted above, appeared in a 2012 Singaporean newspaper and reads as follows:

"Apology Notice
 

I, Choo Chuan Haut (NRIC no. SXXX6750D0 hereby sincerely apologise to Mr Woo (NRIC No. SXXX7740A) for hitting him in the face on 2 March 2012 in the construction site at Nanyang Technology University Singapore and causing him hurt and pain.
 

I Sincerely regret my action. I undertake that any similar incident will not happen in future.  

CHOO CHUAN HAUT "

Out of sheer curiosity, I would dearly love know the background to this as the article poses more questions than answers:
  • Who was he to the project, the client, the contractor, the principle agent, foreman?
  • Who did he hit and what was it that provoked him?
  • Are all Singaporeans so polite by nature, that they immediately regret any such actions and feel compelled go to the enth degree, to express their remorse.
  • Or, was he then in so much trouble that it was in his best interest to show remorse.
The mind boggles ….

Ernest Roper
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Friday, June 30, 2017

The Grim Roofer



March 2017, the lifeless body of a man was found in the roof space of a chemist shop in the Queensbury area in the UK.

Councillors Paul Cromie, an Independent for Queensbury ward, while speaking to a member of the Queensbury Matters Facebook group stated: “Someone has broken into the chemist shop on the High Street through the roof, unfortunately whilst breaking in he died in the roof space and has been dead for several weeks”.

It is believed that the man in an attempt to burgle the outlet, after removing roof tiles to gain access, became stuck and was stifled by his own clothes.

So what can one say about this?

The moral of the story: Occupational Health & Safety applies to all professions!

Reference: darwinawards.com & metro.co.uk

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Matters


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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Old Bold Welders


Earlier this year, a Russian welder who worked for the Enterprise for the Construction, Repair and Maintenance of Highways in Tselinnoe, noticed how a fire extinguisher fitted perfectly into the barrel of an old decommissioned artillery howitzer cannon.

In his misguided belief that a fire extinguisher would make a great projectile, he charged the canon with acetylene, a hydrocarbon gas used in welding. When exploding from the howitzer, the abused fire extinguisher sent shrapnel spraying in all directions, resulting in the untimely demise of our aspiring bombardier. 

Trained to use the elemental powers of hot plasma, welders are not normally daredevil types but this particular gentleman, was determined to prove the old adage:

'There are old welders and bold welders but there are no old, bold welders.'

Reference: darwinawards.com

Ernest Roper
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Monday, May 1, 2017

Handheld Radar Gun Records speed of 300 MPH



For those of you who read the article on the National Road Traffic Regulations and are having difficulty accepting that the speed limit may soon be dropped by 20km per hour in most zones (60km per hour to 40km per hour, 120km per hour to 100km per hour etc) you may enjoy this true account:

Two British traffic patrol officers from North Berwick, east of Edinburgh, were involved in an unusual incident, while checking for speeding motorists on the A1 Great North Road.

One of the officers (who are not named) used a hand-held radar device to check the speed of a vehicle approaching over the crest of a hill, and was surprised when the speed was recorded at over 300mph. The machine then stopped working and the officers were not able to reset it.

The radar had in fact locked on to a NATO Tornado fighter jet over the North Sea, which was engaged in a low-flying exercise over the Borders district.

Back at police headquarters the chief constable fired off a stiff complaint to the RAF Liaison office.

Back came the reply in true laconic RAF style. “Thank you for your message, which allows us to complete the file on this incident. You may be interested to know that the tactical computer in the Tornado had automatically locked on to your ‘hostile radar equipment’ and sent a jamming signal back to it. Furthermore, the Sidewinder air-to-ground missiles aboard the fully-armed aircraft had also locked on to the target. Fortunately the Dutch pilot flying the Tornado responded to the missile status intelligently and was able to override the automatic protection system before the missile was launched.”

Ernest Roper 
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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Only in America!


(4 July, 1998, Texas) If you fly over Houston USA, you will see the sky blue rectangles of countless backyard swimming pools. A Houston man joined the club, and purchased his own above ground pool on June 21, 1998. He selected the location, and the pool was installed by an independent contractor a few days later. He rated all aspects of the installation as "excellent."

A few weeks later, the pool owner was swimming with his friends and enjoying an alcoholic 4th of July haze in the humid Houston heat.

In an unprecedented show of bravado, the man decided to climb onto his patio roof and dive into his pool.

The man was six feet tall. His pool, typical for an above ground pool, was four feet deep and needless to say it did not end well for him.

Key facts:
  • The client himself chose the location of the pool. 
  • The client publicly rated the installation boasting how happy he was with the quality of the work.
  • It was he, all six foot of him, who took the ridiculous decision to take the dive.
  • Needless to say he was inebriated at the time of the incident.
The family of the deceased brought a wrongful death claim against the contractor on the grounds of faulty installation and inappropriate location. Only in America!

Reference: darwinawards.com

Ernest Roper
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Monday, March 6, 2017

Court Offside

 
Retired KZN High Court Judge Chris Nicholson recently penned an article titled “Drink driving defences can be intoxicatingly bizarre” in which he relayed the following courtroom exchange, involving a case from Northern KwaZulu-Natal.

In this particular case, the offender had allegedly admitted to the traffic officer at the scene (a Mr Van der Merwe) that he was indeed inebriated.  When questioned about the arrest, Van der Merwe testified (using the word he) that he had said that he was drunk at the time of the arrest.

This is the exchange that followed:

Judge: Now Mr. Vander Merwe, I want the accused exact words, just as he said them, he didn’t use the pronoun he, did he?

Van der Merwe: Oh,yes. He was drunk.

Judge (impatiently): No you don’t understand, I want the very words he spoke. Did he say, “I was Drunk”.

Van der Merwe: You may have been drunk M’Lord, but the accused did not mention your name.

Prosecutor: look Mr Van der Merwe, you still don’t understand. Did the accused say to you “I was drunk”?

Van der Merwe: He might have said you was drunk, but I didn’t hear him mention your name either.

Defence Council: Here let me try. Listen Mr Van der Merwe, in our English syntax, our English grammar, we have three persons. The first person is I; the second person is you; and the third person is he, she or it. Now did my client the accused in his exact words, use the first person? Did he say “I was drunk”? 

Van der Merwe: No Mr Advocate, he didn’t say you was drunk. He said he was drunk and if you don’t stop asking me all these questions, I’m going out to get drunk, too.

Semantics, the art of whatever you say, it isn’t.

Reference: The Independent (4 March 2017)

Ernest Roper
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Monday, February 6, 2017

Free Fill Sand


 Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal was contacted by a gentleman named Kevin Naidu of Rivers Church offering free fill sand, suitable for backfilling.

He explained that they have approximately 5000m3 of fill sand on their existing property in Glen Hills which they would like to give away for free. Contractors are welcome to come and take as much as they need, they will however be required to bring their own trucks, equipment labour etc.

If you are interested, you can contact Kevin on 083 430 4876 to make the necessary arrangements.    

Ernest Roper
Membership Services Manager
 
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The Big Swing


On 6 December 2005, a gentleman named Ryan Young demonstrated the reason extreme sport should never be performed without professional assistance, he also showed the world that common sense does not always dictate our actions.

On a cold winter’s night In Colorado USA, where temperatures drop below freezing, the appropriately named Ryan Young age 22, bundled up in warm clothing, grabbed a length of rope and headed for a construction site on the University of Colorado campus.

The security fence which Ryan was easily able to scale, proudly boasted a sign that said "87 Days without an Accident”.

Young Ryan climbed the 35m high crane, tied the rope to the tip of the boom, swung out into the night sky and ended up in a high speed collision with a campus building on the other side of the street. 

Sadly it didn’t end well, ensuring that the late Ryan Young, shall forever young be.

Reference: darwinawards.com

Ernest Roper
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