How to find water when you’re stuck in the desert

  • The human body can survive for about three days without water, which can be extremely hard to find in hot desert climates.
  • If you’re ever lost in a desert, knowing how to quickly find water is key to your survival. 
  • Water flows down, so check low terrain. Canyons and mountain bases could be home to a water source.
  • Fruits, vegetables, cacti, and roots all contain water and mashing them with a rock will release some liquid.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. 

Following is a transcript of the video.

The human body can survive for about three days without water, which can be extremely hard to find in hot desert climates.

Look for signs of life if you can’t find a water source. Vegetation, birds, and insects can all mean a nearby water source. Fruits, vegetables, cacti, and roots all contain water and mashing them with a rock will release some liquid.

Water flows down, so check low terrain. Canyons and mountain bases could be home to a water source.

Morning dew can be collected with a cloth and then wrung out into your mouth.Just make sure you collect it before sunrise or it will evaporate before you can get it. Use cups or any other container to catch rainfall. If possible, build a water-catching tarp. This will allow even more water to be collected.

Look for damp ground, vegetation, and dry river beds. These things can all indicate underground water. If you dig a hole a few feet deep nearby, it’s likely water will seep in. If possible, always filter the water. But if you have to choose between dehydration and unfiltered water – take your chances with the water.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published on May 12, 2017.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Here’s what Costco looked like when it opened in 1983 and the annual membership was $25

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: Costco is one of the most popular big-box stores in the United States. It’s known for selling everything in bulk from toilet paper to seafood.

Jerry Seinfeld: Look at this can of tuna. 

Narrator: Although the members-only wholesaler first opened in 1983, today’s stores don’t look much different than they did almost 40 years ago.

Before the first Costco warehouse opened, there was Price Club, which opened in 1976.

The first location was in a converted airplane hangar in San Diego, California. At the time, it served only small businesses.

Its executive vice president of merchandising, distribution, and marketing, Jim Sinegal, played a big role in its initial success.

After leaving Price Club, Sinegal and Jeff Brotman worked together to co-found Costco Wholesale, which they basically modeled after Price Club.

The first Costco Wholesale store opened in 1983 in Seattle. Annual club membership was just $25 at the time. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about the same annual fee today.

Stores quickly expanded across the Pacific Northwest. 200,000 people held Costco memberships by the end of 1984 and another year later, the company filed for an IPO. Soon, it became a $1 billion company.

Ten years after the first Costco store opened, Price Club and Costco merged to form PriceCostco.

In 1997, PriceCostco changed its name to Costco Companies, Inc. Today, it goes by Costco Wholesale Corporation – or as most people know it, just Costco.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How autopilot on an airplane works

  • Autopilot is a flight-control system that allows a pilot to fly an airplane without continuous hands-on control.
  • But this feature isn’t as automatic as you might think. There’s no robot sitting in the pilot seat and pressing buttons while the real pilot takes a nap.
  • A modern automatic flight-control system is made of three main parts: a flight-monitoring computer, several high-speed processors, and a series of sensors placed on different parts of the plane.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. 

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: Autopilot isn’t as “auto” as you might think. There’s no robot that sits in the pilot seat and mashes buttons while the real pilot takes a nap. It’s just a flight-control system that allows a pilot to fly an airplane without continuous hands-on control.

Basically, it lets a pilot fly from New York to Los Angeles without white-knuckling the controls for six straight hours. But how does it actually work? Kind of like a polar bear. A polar bear’s core temperature sits at about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. It is so well insulated against the frigid Arctic cold that it often overheats. When that happens, its body reacts by releasing excess heat through its hairless parts, like its nose, ears, and feet. The polar bear’s body temperature returns to a comfortable 98.6, and it’s free to hunt seals another day. That cycle is called a negative feedback loop, and it’s the same way an autopilot functions.

A negative feedback loop is a self-regulating system that reacts to feedback in a way that maintains equilibrium. Generally, it uses a sensor to receive some sort of data or input, and the system uses that data to keep functioning in a preset way.

For the polar bear, that preset is body temperature. For an airplane, it’s lateral and vertical movement. A modern automatic flight-control system is made of three main parts: a flight-monitoring computer, several high-speed processors, and a series of sensors placed on different parts of the plane. The sensors collect data from the entire plane and send them to the processors, which in turn tell the computer what’s what.

AFCSs come in three different levels of complexity. There are single-, two-, and three-axis autopilots, based on the number of parts they control. Single-axis controls the ailerons, which are these guys. They make the plane do this. Single-axis autopilot is also called the “wing leveler” because it controls the roll of the plane and keeps the wings perpendicular to the ground. Two-axis handles everything the single-axis does, along with the elevators, located here. They move the plane like this. And three-axis juggles those two plus the rudder. That one there is in charge of this movement. Then the computer tells the servomechanism units what to do. Servos are the little instruments that actually move the parts. All of these pieces come together to make sure your plane stays in the air, where it belongs. But they don’t just work on their own.

The success of the autopilot depends on the knowledge of the actual human pilot.

Greg Zahornacky: Autopilots are dumb and dutiful, meaning this: that if you program them incorrectly, they will kill you.

Narrator: Dumb and dutiful are the “two Ds of automation,” according to Earl Wiener, a former US Air Force pilot and an aviation scholar. He once described autopilot as, “Dumb in the sense that it will readily accept illogical input; dutiful in the sense that the computer will attempt to fly whatever is put in.” It’s crucial, and I cannot emphasize this enough, that you know how to fly a plane before you use an autopilot. Step one is inputting a flight plan. And step one is also where things could start going wrong.

To get from New York to LA, a pilot needs a route. That route translates to a flight plan, and that flight plan gets punched into the computer and logged into the database. If the pilot doesn’t know what the heck they’re doing, then they can end up programming the autopilot to fly the plane upside down or to spell out “I’m a Bad Pilot” in the sky. If they correctly navigate step one, step two is simply turning on the autopilot. The system executes the flight plan and takes over from there.

Zahornacky: That will stay operational until such time as they tell it or turn it off. But it is capable of flying the aircraft essentially from takeoff all the way to touchdown and including touchdown.

Narrator: But you can’t just tap it and nap it. It’s the ABCs of autopilots: Always be checking. Because autopilots can and do fail. Sometimes it’s user error when entering the flight plan. Sometimes it’s a sensor or servo malfunction. Either way, this is when it becomes very important that an inflatable toy isn’t flying the plane.

– Why is it doing that?!

Zahornacky: If it’s not doing what I expect it to do, I’m gonna disengage the autopilot. I’m gonna go back to hand-flying the aircraft and say, OK, this is what I want you to do. I’m gonna rebuild it again.

Narrator: The good news is autopilot will never take over a plane, à la HAL. Worst case, the pilot turns it off and on again or pulls the circuit breaker if that doesn’t work and reprograms it to behave itself. Worst-worst case, the pilot just has to fly the plane themselves.

Zahornacky: So, I am a very large proponent of hand-flying that airplane to keep your skills high because, you know what, you’ve gotta go through a check ride at least once a year.

Narrator: A check ride is a practical test regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration that US pilots must pass to get their licenses. And most airlines require yearly check rides to make sure their pilots can actually fly.

Zahornacky: ‘Cause if it’s on autopilot all the time, how can you keep your skills sharp?

Narrator:  There’s a reason we still have pilots flying planes and haven’t handed the yoke over to robots. As advanced as the technology is, an autopilot is not auto enough to think for itself, which means it’s not smart enough to fly a plane by itself, and that’s another thing autopilots have in common with polar bears.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in October 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The biggest volcano eruptions in recorded history

  • The Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) ranks volcano eruptions by size and power.
  • The scale goes from VEI-0 to VEI-8 and measures ash, lava, and rock ejected.
  • VEI-1 is a gentle eruption that can happen frequently. Italy’s Mt. Stromboli has been erupting almost continuously for 2,000 years.
  • VEI-6s are colossal eruptions every 100 years. The 1883 explosion of Krakatoa was the most famous of these.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. 

Following is a transcript of the video.

Earth has had a dramatic history, filled with its share of angry outbursts. Here’s how the largest volcanic eruptions measure up.

The Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) ranks eruptions by size and power. The scale goes from VEI-0 to VEI-8. It measures ash, lava, and rock ejected.

VEI-0 are usually a steady trickle of lava instead of an explosion. An example is the Hawaiian volcano of Kīlauea.

Next is VEI-1, a gentle eruption that can happen frequently. Italy’s Mt. Stromboli has been erupting almost continuously for 2,000 years.

VEI-2s consist of several mild explosions a month. Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung has been erupting since 2013.

VEI-3 are catastrophic eruptions that happen every few months. Lassen Peak in Northern California had a VEI-3 in 1915.

VEI-4s happen about every other year. In 2010, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull grounded thousands of flights.

At VEI-5 things start getting more dramatic. Both Mt. Vesuvius (79 AD) and Mt. St. Helens (1980) were VEI-5s.

VEI-6s are colossal eruptions every 100 years. The 1883 explosion of Krakatoa was the most famous of these.

VEI-7 eruptions occur every 1,000 years. The most recent was Indonesia’s Mt. Tambora in 1815.

VEI-8 is a devastating explosive eruption every 50,000 years. The Yellowstone Caldera would reach this level if it were to erupt.

Let’s all just keep our cool.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published on November 1, 2017.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I ate nothing but ‘healthy’ fast food for a week – here’s what happened

America has an obesity problem, but there are more 200,000 fast foods restaurants dotted throughout the country. Customers have been moving towards places with healthier menus and many traditional chains are adding items to address this. I tried eating these “healthy” fast foods for an entire week. I had every meal at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts or Chick-fil-A. Following is a full transcript of the video. 

Kevin Reilly: Fast food is cheap and convenient. But hidden in between the burgers and tacos are some “healthy” options: salads, grilled chicken, yogurts, oatmeal, power burritos. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? I spent a week eating nothing but these “healthy” fast foods and I lost six-and-a-half pounds. But even though I lost about a pound a day, it didn’t really go well.

I live in New York City, a place with every possible food you could want. Eating healthy here, it’s a breeze. But across America, there are more than 200,000 fast food joints, and they’re bringing in more than $200 billion a year in sales. And no matter where you go, you’re never far from a place like McDonald’s or Taco Bell. But in recent years, consumers want better, healthier choices, and the traditional fast food places have been losing customers to those fast casual healthy options.

The rules were pretty simple: Eat every major meal at a national fast-food chain and stick to the healthy options. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, and Chick-fil-A; nothing but them for a week. Yeah, I lost almost seven pounds, but let’s take a close look at the numbers.

On a normal day, I’m eating around 2,500 calories. An adult man should be having about 2,400 to 2,600 calories a day. But on this fast food plan, my calories plummeted. Most of these meals came in under 400 calories, and that was one of my first problems. I’d eat and just a couple hours later, I was starving. And I had days when I didn’t eat more than 1,000 calories.

Now, some of these meals were really good. My favorite was this grilled chicken market salad from Chick-fil-A. It had blueberries, strawberries, apples; it was delicious and it was actually healthy. However, a lot of the other salads from Burger King, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s were loaded with salt, often more than 50% of what I needed for the entire day, from a salad. In fact, excess salt was a problem the entire week. I thought I had hit the jackpot with Taco Bell’s al Fresco menu. They take off all the cheese and mayo-based sauces and replace it with lettuce and pico de gallo. One night I got tacos, another night I got a power cantina burrito, and these were meals with more protein than usual. So, I felt like I was getting enough food. They were good, too good. It was all salt. In fact, just one burrito had almost as much salt as I needed in just one day. The American Heart Association says we should limit our sodium to about 2,300 milligrams a day, but the ideal is closer to 1,500 milligrams a day, especially for a person like me with high blood pressure. But if you look at my sodium intake, it was high every day, yet I was barely getting the calories I needed. If I wanted to keep the sodium down, I was starving. If I wanted to feel full, salt through the roof. You see, that’s an issue in the fast food industry. Wendy’s even acknowledges on their website that there’s going to be a trade-off between salt and flavor.

It was weird. I didn’t feel healthy at all throughout the week, even though I was eating healthy foods and losing weight. And on the last day, I had this massive headache that was just infuriating. These places, they’re supposed to be tasty, cheap, and convenient. But it wasn’t cheap. Every healthy option was expensive, but left me hungry. For eight grilled nuggets and this tiny kale salad at Chick-fil-A, $12. For the power Mediterranean salad at Wendy’s, it was almost $8, yet I could get a cheeseburger, nuggets, fries, and a soda for only $4. That brings me to another problem. Walk into McDonald’s and you get hit with that sweet, sweet french fry smell, and I had to get a salad.

Would I recommend this to anyone? Nope, unless you’re stuck on the road with no other options. Though there was a bright spot: breakfast at Subway. They have these egg-white-and-cheese sandwiches, which I got covered in spinach and peppers. And let me tell you, it was good. But after all this, I just want a cheeseburger.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in May 2018.

Read the original article on Business Insider

We compared our bodies to Barbie. Here’s what the doll would look like in real life.

    • Research shows that dolls with unrealistic proportions, like Barbie, promote body dissatisfaction and low self-esteem among young girls. 
    • We set out to to discover how unrealistic Barbie’s body is by scaling her up to the height of an average American woman.
    • The most noticeable difference was in the waist. Barbie’s was about 50 centimeters around, compared to the waist of an average American woman of 98 centimeters.
    • In 2016, Barbie’s maker Mattel released a handful of new sizes, including Curvy Barbie, which are more representative of real-life body diversity. But some experts say these dolls are still far from perfect.
    • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Ken: Hiya, Barbie!

Barbie: Hi, Ken! You’re looking unrealistically thin today!

Ken: Funny, I was going to say the same about you.

Narrator: Barbie is one of the most popular dolls in America. But that doesn’t mean that she’s loved by everyone. For years, women advocates have criticized the doll for her proportions, which they say set unrealistic and damaging body expectations for young girls.

In response, her maker, Mattel, created a handful of new sizes in 2016, including Curvy Barbie. But how unrealistic is Barbie really? Is Curvy much better? And where does Ken fit into all of this? That’s what we set out to discover.

Benji Jones: Hello, and welcome to our Barbie experiment. Today, we’re going to open up each of these three dolls and do a little bit of math to try to figure out what they would look like if they were life-size. We have your more typical Barbie over here. We’ve got a Curvy Barbie, which is kind of a newer doll. And then, of course, we also have a Ken doll because I couldn’t not get Ken. So let’s get started.

Narrator: First, we measured each of the dolls, their height, waist, and so on, and used some high-school algebra to figure out their life-size measurements. Then, we compared them to a real-life woman for comparison: our colleague Jensen.

Jones: So Jensen, how tall are you?

Jensen Rubinstein: I am 5-3 and a half.

Jones: So you are the average height of an American woman, congratulations.

Rubinstein: Wow, thank you!

Jones: First thing we’re gonna do is take some of your measurements.

Rubinstein: OK.

Jones:And then we’re gonna compare that to Barbie. Will you point to your belly button for me?

Rubinstein: Right here.

Jones: OK.

Narrator: Although Jensen is the average height of an American woman, she has a smaller-than-average waist. But still, it’s not nearly as thin as Barbie’s. If we scale Barbie to life-size, her waist would be a mere 50 centimeters, and her hips, just 71 centimeters. And if Jensen had Barbie’s proportions, this is what she would look like. She’d have shorter arms, a longer neck, and tiny feet. In fact, they’d be so small that she’d have trouble balancing and would be forced to walk on all fours.

And what about Curvy Barbie? Is she any more realistic? Actually, yes, at least relative to Jensen. Her waist would be around 63 centimeters and her hips around 90, the same as Jensen’s. Now, here’s Jensen with Curvy Barbie’s proportions. Not that different. Though, of course, she still wouldn’t be able to walk upright.

Now, we can’t forget about Ken. This time, I stood in for comparison. If we scale Ken up to my height, his waist would be just 63 centimeters, and he would also have unusually small feet, long legs, and larger calves. But his biceps, well, mine are actually bigger. Uh, Ken, you better watch out.

So as you might expect, most Barbies look nothing like average Americans, as fit as they may be. In fact, researchers found that the chance of a woman having traditional Barbie’s proportions is less than one in 100,000. And that’s a problem.

Deborah Tolman: My name’s Deborah Tolman. I’m a professor of critical social psychology and women and gender studies at Hunter College at City University of New York.

Narrator: And according to Tolman:

Tolman: Dolls actually have an enormous effect on girls’ and boys’ sense of themselves, their ideas about body, particular thin-body ideals. If you have an ideal, and you’re never able to achieve it, you don’t need a psychological study to show that it makes you feel bad.

Narrator: But there are plenty of studies that do. A study published in 2006, for example, found that young girls who are exposed to Barbie-doll images had more body dissatisfaction and lower body esteem compared to girls who were shown similar pictures of a larger-sized doll. But fortunately, it goes both ways.

Tolman: Playing with a more, I guess, quote, chubby doll actually suppresses the desire for a thin body. So thinking about it only as negative really doesn’t tell the full story because there are ways that we can introduce dolls and play that will actually yield protective effects.

Narrator: And that’s why some experts applaud Mattel for creating Curvy Barbie. But it’s also led to a whole new business for people who want to make even more realistic dolls because let’s face it, Curvy Barbie still doesn’t depict the average American woman.

Nickolay Lamm: So Curvy, Tall, and Petite Barbie, like, I think it sounds good, like, “Oh, Curvy, Tall, and Petite, we’re all diverse and everything.” But if we actually look at their individual, each doll, each doll is still unrealistic because the Curvy is still like the perfect hourglass shape. The Petite is very extremely slim, and the Tall is basically like essentially the original Barbie, except kind of a little bit taller.

Narrator: That’s Nickolay Lamm.

Lamm: I’m the founder of Lammily, which makes dolls with realistic body proportions to promote healthy body image.

Narrator: Lamm competes with Mattel for business, so of course there’s some difference in opinion about the perfect doll, but if you look at his dolls, it’s easy to see how they differ from Barbie, Curvy or otherwise. And in the end, maybe there is no perfect doll. After all, people come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors, and it’s pretty clear that dolls should too.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in June 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider

If Godzilla existed in real life, he wouldn’t be able to stand up

  • Since his debut in 1954, Godzilla has gotten bigger and bigger.
  • In 2019’s “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”, he’s bigger than ever, towering at a whopping 119 meters. At that size, his heart wouldn’t be able to pump blood to his brain.
  • His brain would send messages too slowly to his muscles, so he wouldn’t be able to move properly either.
  • Plus, he’d either have to spend all his time sunbathing to stay warm, or produce his own body heat and cook himself.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. 

The newest Godzilla is bigger than ever, towering at a whopping 119 meters. At that size, his heart wouldn’t be able to pump blood to his brain. And if he were a reptile, he’d have to spend all his time sunbathing to keep warm, while a mammal of his size would cook itself with its own body heat.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: The roar belongs to one of the most iconic movie monsters of all time: Godzilla. Since his debut in 1954, the King of Monsters has rampaged across Tokyo, New York City, and Osaka to name a few. And over the years, he’s gotten bigger, and bigger, and bigger. The latest Godzilla is a record 119 meters tall, about six times taller than the tallest animal in history. And to be fair, it’s a fantasy film, not a nature documentary.

But just how fantastical is a 36-story-tall lizard-dinosaur creature who breathes beams of atomic energy? Well, energy beams aside, Godzilla is actually even more unrealistic than you might think. Now, Earth is no stranger to enormous animals.

Just look at the largest dinosaur, the titanosaurs, or today’s blue whales, which reach up to 30 meters long and can weigh 200 tons. Compared to them, Godzilla doesn’t seem that impossible, right?

Mike Habib:  These critters are massive on a scale that’s just totally impossible. I mean, assuming, at least, they’re made of anything even remotely like what we’re made out of and follow any of the roles of biology, they are completely impossible.

Narrator: That’s paleontologist Mike Habib. He’s an expert in giant reptiles and also helps design fantastical creatures for TV and film. And according to him, a creature like Godzilla could never exist in real life for multiple reasons. First, he would be brain-dead long before he ever reached a city because his heart simply isn’t large and powerful enough to pump blood to his head.

Mike Habib: His heart would have to be thousands of tons and fill most of his chest. You’d have to have vessels that you could drive a car through, and he would need the energy consumption of a small power plant, probably, every minute in order to run it. Of course, he’s nuclear-powered, so maybe he has the energy to spare.

Narrator: In reality, large animals like titanosaurs got around this by walking on all fours with their heads held out in front them, not held up high. That way, they don’t have to pump blood against gravity as far. But even if Godzilla did crawl across cities on all fours, he’d have another problem: movement.

You see, whenever you lift your leg or arm, it’s because your brain fires signals to the nerves in your leg and arm muscles. The fastest of these signals travel around 100 meters per second, so the message from brain to leg is virtually instantaneous. Not for Godzilla though. It would take more than a full second for nerve signals to travel the length of his body. Now, a second still sounds pretty quick, but in reality…

Mike Habib: His nerve-conduction speed becomes so slow that he can’t move. Takes forever to do anything.

Narrator: Now, Godzilla does look pretty sluggish in the films, but it turns out, in reality, it would look more like this. But even if Godzilla could move super fast, he wouldn’t have time to fight enemies or demolish buildings because he’d be too busy sunbathing. All animals need a way to regulate body temperature. Reptiles and other cold-blooded animals stay warm by basking in the sun.

But in Godzilla’s case, heat from the sun would have to travel through meters upon meters of tissue to penetrate his hide and reach his internal organs. So to stay warm, he’d have to spend hundreds of hours straight sunbathing. But what if Godzilla were more like a mammal? Like us? He wouldn’t need to rely on the sun since we warm-blooded creatures produce our own body heat. But unfortunately, that would cause yet another problem.

Mike Habib: But then he’s so big, he probably cooks himself. His core temperature hits 300 degrees.

Narrator: Yikes. And even if he somehow got around all these problems, his skeleton would still collapse under its own weight. Now, Mike says he’s a whopping 90,000 metric tons, and that skeleton’s just not strong enough to support 90,000 metric tons of, well, anything.

Mike Habib: Yeah, he would just crumple. Yeah. He’d just collapse. He’d be a very large pile of meat.

Narrator: Not a very intimidating picture. In the end, Mike says Godzilla could only be about half as tall as he was in the original film before his poor heart would give out. But just because Godzilla’s body is unrealistic doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, he’s perfect for the role. He’s tall enough to stalk past city skyscrapers, which give us iconic scenes like this.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in May 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider