Franklin’s Journal Presents: How to Make Your Own Latex Catsuit…

…in just a few easy steps.

Things you will need:
One half-naked chick
Liquid latex
Foam brushes
One drop cloth
One Unitard
Saran wrap
Silicone-based sex lube (ID Millennium works well)

The first thing you’ll want to do spread out the drop cloth. In fact, it’s remarkable how many things one can do on a Saturday afternoon that start with "The first thing you’ll want to do spread out the drop cloth"…but I digress.

Now, take the saran wrap…

When urban legend becomes policy

More and more often, when I pump gas at a gas station, I see warnings on the gas pumps advising motorists to turn off their cell phones:

Supposedly, this is to prevent fires. Everyone knows, after all, that sparks from a cell phone can cause gasoline vapors to ignite and start a gasoline fire, right? I mean, there’s even an Internet email circulating that talks about how cell phones can start gasoline fires, right? So it’s only wise to put up a warning about cell phones on gas pumps, right?

Problem is, it’s strictly an urban legend. Cell phones don’t make sparks, and cell phones can’t ignite gasoline vapors.

Hell, the Discovery show Mythbusters attempted to use a cell phone to ignite a gasoline fire, and failed. In fact, they filled a pressurized chamber with gasoline and oxygen, disassembled the cell phone so that its battery and electronics were exposed directly to the gasoline vapors, and still failed.

Which is about what anyone who knows anything about electricity would expect.

If gasoline could be ignited by a cell phone, then you’d expect explosions left and right just from filling a car. You see, your car’s electrical system is powered by a big, high-capacity battery, far more powerful than the puny battery in a cell phone…and your car’s electrical system is still active even when the engine is not running. After all, if you’ve ever replaced your car’s battery, you know that your radio loses all its presets and your clock gets all scrambled when you take the battery out.

Even when it’s just sitting parked with the engine off, your car is consuming far more power than a cell phone. There’s far more likelihood of arcing, because the voltage and current present in your car is far greater than that in a cell phone–but your car doesn’t blow sky-high every time you refuel it!

But what about that CBS News story about a fire in New York that was triggered by a cell phone–you know, the one that quotes the fire marshall as saying “Don’t use their cell phones when they’re pumping gas. Really, it’s deadly.”?

It’s bunk. In fact, the fire marshall CBS quoted has actually come right out and said “”After further investigation of the accident scene and another discussion with the victim of the May 13 gasoline station fire in New Paltz, I have concluded the source of ignition was from some source other than the cell phone the motorist was carrying.”

Yet this particular urban legend is so common, so widespread, and so often believed that a state senator in Connecticut wants to pass a law banning cell phone use at gas stations.

As urban legends go, the cell phone legend is a good one. It preys on fear, as all good urban legends do; it relies on the fact that people know a little bit about electricity (electricity can make sparks, sparks can start gasoline on fire), but not a lot; it sounds plausible to someone who knows a bit but has no real background in electronics (which is to say, most people).

Yet there has never been one single confirmed case of any cell phone ever starting a fire, and attempts to start fires intentionally with cell phones have always failed. Put most simply, a cell phone can not start a fire without being attached to a detonator of some sort.

That’s a common technique used by insurgents in Iraq, by the way–rigging a cell phone to an electrical detonator and then setting off a bomb by sending a signal to a cell phone–but I don’t know anyone who’s carrying a cell phone modified to be connected to a detonator, and can only assume someone who had such a thing most likely wouldn’t be chatting on it while pumping gas. But I digress.

The picture of the cell phone warning at the top of this post is pretty crappy quality, and for that I apologize. I didn’t have my good digital camera with me while I was filling my car, so I took this picture with the camera in my cell phone.

Some thoughts on logic and emotion

I know people who consider themselves rational and logical, and deny that their emotions control or even influence them.

I know people who are highly emotional and intuitive , and who make decisions based on their feelings and their intuition.

In my experience, both paths tend to lead to disaster.

The person who strives to be rational and logical often ends up making many of his decisions completely emotionally. Why? Because he has not developed the tools to understand his emotions, or even to recognize them for what they are. So he does what seems right to him, unaware how heavily what “seems right” is influenced by his emotions…and without the tools to understand his emotions, he often ends up completely unaware of the reality of the effect they have on his decisions.

On the other hand, the person who lets her emotions have the driver’s seat–the person who allows her emotions and feelings to tell her what to do–is no better off.

You see, there is no part of human perception that is without flaw. Just like you can think you know something intellectually, and be wrong, so can you also FEEL something, and still be wrong. Emotions, like rational thought, are not infallible. Emotions and reason are not two different things, and they are not subject to different rules.

Emotions are nothing more than the way the ancient parts of our brains–the parts that do not have language–communicate with us. Emotions happen for a reason, and the things you feel have a source.

However, it is possible to feel that something is true–to feel it so completely and so absolutely that you KNOW it, more surely than you know your own name–and still be wrong.

People who put their emotions in the driver’s seat often tend to believe those emotions without question. If they feel defensive, that means that they MUST have been attacked. If they feel frightened, that MUST mean that there is something to fear.

And emotions tend to create the reality they exist in. Feelings color and flavor our perceptions of the world. When we feel that something is true, we tend to see things that support that feeling and ignore things that don’t. The irony of this is that by doing so, we can actually take something that we feel is true, but is actually false, and MAKE it true. The person who feels that he can not trust someone, or that someone is hostile to him, may end up behaving in ways that actually do make that person hostile to him. The person who believes that her partner wants to leave her, and that her partner doesn’t love her, may behave in ways that alienate her partner, and make that feeling come true.

Feel with your heart, but check your facts.

Understand your feelings. Don’t deny them, but don’t put them in the driver’s seat either. Examine them. Look at what they are saying, and then decide for yourself whether or not what they are saying is true. Decide for yourself whether or not the things you see are real, or are fabrications ceated by your feelings to try to support themselves.

People who deny their feelings can, in extreme cases, become monsters, and commit acts of atrocity. People who trust their feelings implicitly, and who let their feelings guide them, are easy to manipulate and easy to lead; it’s no accident that the overwhelming majority of cult members are people who are very intuitive and who trust their feelings. In extreme cases, feeling that something is true and not challenging that feeling also leads to atrocity; a person must have passionate feelings indeed in order to fly an airplane into a building.

Feel with your heart, but check your facts.