Book Question From a Reader: Blood Loss

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11th, 2013 by Othniel – Be the first to comment
Intravenous (IV) Setup

If you get bitten by a bug, and we're around, you're getting one of these hooked up to your arm (if you have one left) immediately.

A few people who have read my book  Vikings, Vampires, and Mailmen noted that during one scene when one of my guys was bitten by a bug, we immediately ran an intravenous (IV) line into his arm when there hadn’t been any obvious loss of blood.  They’ve asked why we did that.

Well, there are actually a couple of reasons why this is a good idea.

The first reason we immediately start a line into a trauma patient is because, in our business, if you get bit you’re going to require a LOT of shots.  I can’t stress enough how the mouth of a vampire is a garbage dumpster of diseases, viruses, toxins, and other nasty things.  The risk of communicable diseases and infection is always 100%, so we pump bug attack victims with plenty of antibiotics and other cocktails I’m not going to discuss in detail.  You can’t keep telling a guy to stick his arm back out for the many, many shots we administer, especially since we’re probably going to be doing this in a cramped environment where people are bumping into each other — the victim’s arm would look like a pincushion!  When you run an IV you simply have to shoot each new syringe into the injection port of the bag/line instead of having to find a vein again.

Another reason we start an IV right away is because of blood pressure.  Generally speaking, when a person is first injured their blood pressure is still very strong.  As they bleed out, which can happen very rapidly, their blood pressure drops, and some of their blood vessels may start to collapse.  What this means is that the longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be to start a proper IV.  So in combat/street trauma, premature is always better than too late.

In the case of our guy that was wounded down in Wolf Bay, he had actually lost a lot more blood than we originally thought, as his most severe wound was concealed beneath the body armor on his upper leg.  His clothing and armor actually pooled the blood, so until that armor came off, we couldn’t accurately assess the extent of his wounds.  That being said, even when we got all his clothes off, we still wouldn’t have been able to accurately assess all of his wounds, as puncture wounds like handgun entry wounds or stab wounds often only show an entry point — not the severity of the injury.  Internal bleeding is a real concern, and when blood is leaking out, additional blood, or at least saline must be added to keep blood pressure up.

So yes, we did indeed run an IV long before we suspected blood pressure was going to drop, and in that particular case we were right for both reasons.  Once again, our job is rather unique, so as you read my books you’ll see that we do many things differently for very logical reasons.  Cheers!

When Hollywood Goes Badly Wrong

Posted in Uncategorized on September 27th, 2012 by Othniel – Be the first to comment

We’re going to settle this whole “Guy flying backward when hit with bullets or other projectiles” thing once and for all.

In the movies and television, very often an overly-creative director instructs his special effects people to make it look like people who were shot with projectile objects fly backwards in space, as if the bullet or arrow hit them with so much force that it lifted them up and tossed them back like a ragdoll.

That couldn’t be further from what really happens.  Projectiles are small, light, fast objects designed to penetrate flesh.  The projectile is supposed to enter a body (human or animal) and cause internal damage so that the body stops not due to momentum, but due to structural damage to the bones and organs.  For example, a bow hunter tries to shoot a deer through its lungs and heart in one shot, meaning it won’t be able to breathe or pump blood, which will bring it down in a matter of moments as its brain runs out of oxygen.

When we fire our submachine gun “hoses” at bugs and other bad guys, we first aim for the balls/hips.  Our bullets smash into the bones of the upper legs and hips, shattering the platform that allows a creature to move.  If the undead don’t have moveable legs, they can’t run after us, dig?  This is why this whole “flying across the room” thing is so annoying to professionals like us.  See, if we only shoot them in the chest, the bullets don’t even slow them down.  Let me explain with some physics.

ridiculous graphic of man getting blown away by a tiny crossbow bolt

Clearly this dude is getting blasted by a massive force, emanating from a magical aluminum tube?!

Let’s take the case of the image above where this dude is getting hit with a crossbow bolt in the beginning of season 1, episode 1 of the show “Revolution.”  In it the bolt clearly hits him in the chest, because his head and legs snap forward.  His torso stops immediately in space, and falls to the ground at the speed of gravity.  This is an absolutely impossible scenario, because the dude simply has too much momentum for that tiny little crossbow bolt to handle.

The Victim:
The victim appears to be about six feet tall, as he is carrying a standard-looking pickaxe (36 inches long), and since he is running with it one-handed with apparent ease, let’s presume he weighs about 180lbs.  The average human can run about 11mph (some as fast as 23mph), but since the guy had only started running seconds before, let’s say he was running at 5mph when he was hit with the bolt.

The Shooter:
The shooter appears to be about equal size and weight, firing a basic crossbow from across the street.  Because we can’t determine the type of crossbow he’s using, we’re going to give him the incredibly powerful PSE Tac 15i crossbow.  Now, he is CLEARLY not using anything even remotely close to this powerful a crossbow, but we’re going to give it to him anyway so that all the medieval weaponry nuts can’t argue the point that the crossbow could have been more powerful.  The PSE Tac 15i fires a 425 grain bolt at about 402 feet per second.

In order for this man to have been stopped dead in his tracks, the momentum from the crossbow bolt wouldn’t just have to be equal to the momentum from the running man, it would also have had to expend all of its energy when it hit, meaning it can’t fly through him and keep going (like bullets tend to do).

Momentum:
To determine momentum, we have to multiply the mass of the objects in motion by the speed at which they are moving.  First we convert to the metric system, so the 180lb victim weighs 81.65 kilograms, and moving at 5mph that converts to 2.235 meters per second.  That gives the running man a momentum of 182.49 kg x m/s.  The 425 grain crossbow bolt weighs .0275 kilograms, and 402 feet per second converts to 122.5 meters per second.  That gives the bolt a momentum of 3.37 kg x m/s.

Once again, in order to stop the man dead in his tracks, the momentum values would have to be at least close to equal, as some energy would be lost in heat, deceleration, flying limbs, etc.  But the figures we get clearly aren’t even close.

Victim = 182.49 kg x m/s.
Crossbow bolt = 3.37 kg x m/s.

With 54 times the momentum of the crossbow bolt, the running man may have slowed the tiniest amount (roughly .092mph) upon impact, but he would have sent the bolt flying.  The only reason the bolt didn’t take off like a baseball off a bat is because it was sharp and buried itself into his chest.

US Air Force hyperspeed craft

This US Air Force hyperspeed craft flew at about Mach 20, and peeled apart from the heat and friction, but a crossbow bolt is fine at that speed?

In order for the bolt to stop the man dead in his tracks it would have had to have been moving much faster, been much heavier, or been Scotch-taped to the front of a truck.  By much faster I mean it would have needed to be flying at 6636 meters per second, or roughly 14,840mph — which is about 19.5 times the speed of sound!  That’s right, there should have been a loud crack as the bolt created a sonic boom, which clearly didn’t happen.

That means the bolt would have to have been heavier.  In fact, it would have had to have weighed 1.49 kilograms, or 3.29 pounds, which is 54 times heavier than the bolt.  Let’s presume the wooden handle to the pickaxe the victim was carrying was made of ash, the 36 inch handle would weigh about 1.45 pounds.  If the shooter fired a wooden stake from his crossbow it would have had to have been over six feet long if made of ash, and been as thick as that pickaxe handle!

Which it clearly wasn’t… nevermind that the weenie crossbow couldn’t even have launched that big of a piece of wood.

So no matter how you slice it, or how you try to bend reality, gravity still exists, so physics still apply.  Sure, people who love medieval times probably never heard of a guy named Isaac Newton, as he came up with a few laws of motion (the second one in 1713) that clearly dictate how projectile objects will behave when hitting other objects.  Since we can calculate precisely what it takes to make human beings go flying around (without taking into account people are basically bags of Campbells Soup, and tend to burst apart when struck violently), we can very clearly do the math showing that it’s impossible for a tiny bullet, bolt, or arrow to toss someone across a room or into the air.

So please, JJ Abrams and other Hollywood types, cut it out.  It makes your work look amateurish.

The Zombie Apocalypse

Posted in Uncategorized on June 2nd, 2012 by Othniel – Be the first to comment
Movie Poster for "Zombre"

He came to free the people... from their brains!

Please, no more emails asking if the zombie apocalypse has begun!

In the last few weeks, there have been some strange happenings.  First, a man starts eating another man’s face, and when police tell him to stop, he growls at them and keeps eating until he’s shot to death.  Another story talks about a guy in Maryland eating his friend’s heart and brain.  Then there’s the story about the guy in Hackensack who tore out his intestines and threw them at cops.  And there have been more…

Has the zombie apocalypse begun?  Probably not.  After all, when have you read anything where zombies used their own guts as weapons?  Maybe if it was some deadly tentacle, but when was the last time you read about deadly tummy tentacles?  Yeah, maybe ass tentacles from Japanese butt zombies, sure…

Now maybe I have seen zombies, and maybe I haven’t — I’m not trying to be coy, just noting that in my business we’ve had some real grey areas.  Still, I’m both a big fan and student of the strange, and an expert in evil, and it’s my professional opinion that the Zombie Apocalypse isn’t here yet.

For starters, zombies are believed to eat brains, or at least prefer brains.  Not faces.  Not hearts.  The guy in Hackensack wasn’t eating somebody, he was disposing of himself from the inside-out!  If anything, he’s an anti-zombie.  Also, any surviving victims would become zombies after a short amount of time, and last time I heard, the guy in Miami is being considered for a face transplant.  Since he hasn’t attempted to eat his doctors’ brains, he’s not a zombie.

I’ve also been taught the only way to kill a zombie is to destroy its brain.  I’ve seen the photos of the attacker in Miami, and it looks like he was shot five times in the upper chest.  Maybe I missed something, but it didn’t look like there was one head shot, and let me tell you, he’s plenty dead.  Like, the forever type dead, not undead.

Granted, I’ve seen some creatures that have zombie-like characteristics.  The bugs we exterminate were once dead.  They do eat people.  They only die when we destroy their brains.  Bugs beget more bugs, though it’s not as often as you’d think.  Still, every source I’ve read on zombies (except for those in the Caribbean) insist that when you see one zombie, you’ve probably got a lot more.  Basically, they’re like termites… brain-chewing undead termites.

The conclusion?  It can be said with 100% certainty that if the Zombie Apocalypse has begun, it has nothing to do with the cases mentioned above.  Maybe it’s happening right now somewhere in some quiet part of Africa, or in the slums of Rio de Janeiro.  If that’s the case, I’m sure guys like me will be called in to stop the problem before it explodes.

That is, if we haven’t already done that before, and kept it rather quiet…

And People Think We’re Weird

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10th, 2012 by Othniel – Be the first to comment

Top: The famous frame of the Patterson film. Middle: An official sketch from the BFRO of what Bigfoot's face looks like. Bottom: a fur trapper from the movie "Jeremiah Johnson."

It turns out there’s an organization out there that hunts Bigfoot, the mythical ape-man that roams North America.  But that’s not the weird part — what is strange is that groups of people pay $300 to $500 each to go on Bigfoot hunting tours.

The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization runs four-day expeditions to locate and observe Bigfoot, or perhaps multiple… bigfeet?  What makes this interesting is that, even though these expeditions seem to always end with no sightings, people still pony up hundreds of dollars to go on them.  What they usually find are holes in the ground the tour leader often claims is a footprint, and, of course, big piles of poop they claim was left by Bigfoot.

That’s right, no sightings of Bigfoot, so people are basically paying hundreds of dollars to collect Bigpoop.

According to the BFRO, it is undisputed that for over 400 years people have sighted tall, furry man-like creatures in the woods of North America.  This is very shocking considering the woods of North America have been the stomping grounds for hunters and trappers for hundreds of years.  And what do they tend to wear?  Well, animal furs, basically.  And big animal-fur boots, which make their feet seem bigger.

If you do happen to spot Bigfoot, however, do be sure to fill out this contact report form at the BFRO.

Another Marauder?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2nd, 2012 by Othniel – Be the first to comment
The Paramount Marauder

Someone driving the civilian version of this thing is clearly compensating for something.

One of our readers sent us an email noting that there is another vehicle named “marauder” in the world of badass vehicles.

The Paramount Marauder is a mine-protected military vehicle similar to the HMMWV “Humvee.” Where the Humvee is built in the US, the Marauder is built in South Africa, and used mostly in third-world nations like Azerbaijan and South Africa.  It’s a pretty tough truck, but doesn’t really compare to our USVS Marauder.

Our Marauders were custom-built by Mack Trucks many years before the Paramount one of the same name.  Although the design for both of our Marauders is still classified, it’s safe to say that the sensors built into ours blow away this third-world knockoff.  Ours are significantly bigger, and can actually off-road better!  We also carry more fuel and get much better gas mileage, just like the highway monsters Mack makes every day.  And we created ours first, so they should change their name to something else — like the Pansy Marauder, or the Wanna-Be Marauder.

There’s now a civilian version of the Marauder, which isn’t much different from the military version.  As much as I’m keeping my Marauders, it probably would be a lot of fun to drive one of these things.

We’ve Been Audited?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12th, 2012 by Othniel – Be the first to comment

Even when a government oversight committee is trying to help you, it still feels like someone's counting your beans.

I’m not quite sure what Government Computer News is all about, but apparently they review government agencies to keep us all honest.

We got an anonymous tip that we’d been reviewed by this company back in October of 2010.  We haven’t heard anything else about it, so we’re guessing we passed with flying colors.  After all, we work really hard to be the best at what we do, and we can only hope that those who take a fine-toothed comb to our work will see it the same way.

Well Ain’t This a Dandy?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2nd, 2012 by Othniel – Be the first to comment
Third-world soccer field

This is what a soccer field looks like all over the world. Billions of kids play soccer on fields like this every day, but apparently that's not good enough for America's captured terrorists.

In December of 2003, President Bush signed a law that trained pilots and other flight officers on how to properly carry guns on planes.  This program, called the Federal Flight Deck Officer program, is run through the Federal Air Marshal Service – the same guys that are tasked with protecting us when we fly.  Since then, estimates suggest that there are somewhere around 12,000 trained and armed federal flight deck officers.

The current White House administration wants to significantly cut the program.  They want to drop the budget from this program from $25 million to $12 million, which breaks down to about $1000 per trained, armed flight deck officer.

Now, before you think that’s a lot of money to keep you and your family safe while flying the terrorist skies, take into consideration that the same White House administration just built a brand new, $774,000 soccer field for the prisoners down at Guantanamo Bay.  Mind you, this soccer field will only be used by about 120 prisoners, which means that the field cost about $6450 per terrorist Pele.

The White House approves spending $6450 per terrorist to let them play soccer, but feels that paying anything more than $1000 per pilot to keep your family safe is too much.

Does anybody else have a problem with this?

Safety, and Bullets That Turn to Dust

Posted in Uncategorized on February 16th, 2012 by Othniel – Be the first to comment

Even Lobot from The Empire Strikes Back knew to wear hearing protection when handling firearms... well, blasters.

When you go to the shooting range, you wear glasses to protect your eyes, and hearing protection to protect your ears.  This is because guns blast all kinds of things out into the air and potentially your eyes, and they’re so loud they can cause damage to your hearing.

So what happens when a cop on the street has to fire his gun?  Why, he risks damage to his vision and his hearing, that’s what.  I SAID HE RISKS DAMAGE TO HIS… yeah, you get the joke.

That’s why we use suppressors, and partly why we use frangible rounds.  A suppressor is basically a “silencer” for submachine guns, like our hoses.  We need to hear the bad guys crawling around, which means we can’t wear those big, 1970′s like headset earmuffs.  Our helmets do have hearing protection built in, and we also have electronic amplifiers that increase the sound levels.  The thing is, we don’t want our guns making all the noise and masking the sounds of the bad guys, so we try to quiet our guns.

Likewise, we don’t want bullets and junk coming back at us.  When a bullet hits a rock, it may ricochet, or even break apart causing multiple fragments to come back at us.  By using frangible rounds, or bullets that turn basically to dust upon impact, there’s nothing significant coming back at us.  That means our eyes and asses are safe.

Mr. FPSRussia put together a cool video here that shows you how a silencer/suppressor can diminish the noise a weapon makes.  In the same video, he also shows how the frangible rounds we use add to shooter safety while still delivering maximum damage to our targets.

Clip vs. Magazines

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10th, 2012 by Othniel – Be the first to comment

Apparently this issue is very important to someone with Photoshop.

We’ve taken some flak from readers who have finished my book, “Vikings, Vampires, and Mailmen,” and have noted that the metal thing filled with bullets you load into a gun isn’t called a clip, it’s called a magazine.  Well, they’re right.  That isn’t lost upon us.

The thing is, we call our magazines “clips” for the same reason US Marines call their parade grounds a “deck,” or how sailors tell you to “batten down the hatches” when they mean to use bungee cords, not battens, to secure hatches and loose items.  The term “clip” we use comes from World War II, specifically the M-1 Garand rifle.  It was the standard-issue rifle for US soldiers.

You see, a single-shot rifle has a barrel, and behind it is a chamber where you load one bullet, and then fire.  In multi-shot guns, you generally have a magazine that stores the bullets and loads them one at a time into the chamber.  Some weapons have removable magazines, and some don’t.  When you have a removable magazine, like with modern pistols, the spring that pushes the bullets up is in the magazine, and you put the whole thing — bullets, spring, containment device and all — into the handle of the pistol, and everything works.

With the M-1 Garand, the magazine was built into the rifle.  You took a pack of bullets, held in a cheap metal clip, and pushed them into the magazine.  When the bullets were done firing, the clip was ejected, but the magazine was still inside the rifle.  Basically, a clip just holds the bullets together, but the magazine does all the work.

Many of the guys who helped build the USVS that you know and love today were WWII vets.  They beat the Nazis and they beat the bugs, and damned if I’m going to say that the words they used to do so were wrong.

Today, my team still says “clip,” but we mean “magazine.”  We also ask for more “film,” when we mean flash cards for our digital cameras.  Just throwing it out there in case you didn’t understand that sometimes old habits are hard to break.

The Kensington Runestone

Posted in Uncategorized on February 2nd, 2012 by Othniel – Be the first to comment

This is the Kensington Runestone. Judge for yourself.

In 1898, a farmer by the name of Olof Ohman claimed he dug up a 200-pound rock while plowing new woods near his farm.  His son noticed that the big rock had carvings on it, so they flipped it over and tried to read it.  This happened in Kensington, Minnesota.  Initially, Olaf and his son, Edward, thought the stone was carved by native Americans.  They thought it was possibly an “Indian Almanac.”

The runes were Viking runes.

From that moment until now, people continue to debate whether the stone is real.  As they’ve debated this, more runes have been discovered along the northeastern United States, like in Maine and Rhode Island.  And experts finally realized that an old tower in Newport, RI wasn’t actually a mill, but a Viking tower that during the winter solstice, points to Kensington.  For a quick and easy lesson on all this, go watch the History Channel documentary, “Holy Grail in America.”

We also found some Viking runes down in Alabama, which of course you can read up on in my first book, “Vikings, Vampires, and Mailmen.”

The point of this post is that the Vikings made it to Minnesota, and they found something out there that was very important to them.  So important, in fact, that they built a rather impressive tool to lure the vampires away from it.  That’s what makes the Kensington find so important: were vampires a huge problem for them in the New World?  And if not, what was so important about the Kensington location that they worked hard to keep vampires away from it?