A dead man's switch is an emergency brake that automatically activates to stop a vehicle or machine in the event that the operator becomes incapacitated. This sort of safety measure became necessary with the advent of electric trains, since they cut the number of required operators down to one, and has become standard in numerous devices, including snowblowers, lawn mowers, and saws. Though developed as a fail-safe, a dead man's switch can sometimes be a "fail-deadly," as when built into what?
Back in the day
The explosion at Cameroon's Lake Monoun, which killed 37 people, at first baffled investigators. It was only after a similar event at nearby Lake Nyos two years later claimed the lives of 1,700 people that experts determined that high concentration of carbon dioxide in the lakes had caused the suffocating limnic eruptions. Venting pipes were inserted into Lake Monoun to remove the gas and prevent future eruptions. How many lakes in the world are susceptible to this sort of deadly gas release?
Born on a day like today
When she was just 13, Virginia Clemm married her first cousin Edgar Allan Poe, who was 14 years her senior. For years, scholars have debated about the nature of this relationship, which was cut short when Virginia tragically died of tuberculosis at 24. Edgar was clearly smitten by his young bride—and muse—and was devastated by her death. Still, some believe that the two were more like siblings than spouses and never actually consummated their marriage. What has led them to this conclusion?