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This whole Chilean miner incident has made me realize how claustrophobic I am because the very idea of being buried thousands of feet in the Earth, in a tiny room, filled with other anxious, surly dudes, is viscerally terrifying to me — even if they have three precious 3.19″ boreholes through which they can get what they need to survive. I say, let’s send them the parts to build virtual reality rigs and have robot surrogates topside so they can go back to their lives, if only virtually. We can’t get them out of the hole for months, but it seems like we have the technology to let their minds climb out.

What would you send down that hole to “free” these men? [Via Laughing Squid]

Think of the Miners

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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Comments

  1. vrandy.myopenid.com says:

    I’d ask for an iTouch (Or a comparable Android device.) I’d want it loaded up with ‘Kindle for iPhone’ and a whole bunch of science fiction books.

    I’d want a large external battery I could plug it into so that it would run for a very long time between charges.

    That could easily be accomplished through their pulley system and would be far better than sending down micro-printed bibles and the occasional rolled up magazine! All with off-the-shelf consumer equipment and software!

    (Remaining storage space could be used for games. Some sort of multi-player board game would work well on their cave-wall projector.)

  2. vrandy.myopenid.com says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention. The nice thing about a iTouch (or whatever) is that it’s not just about consuming media, it can also be about CREATING it.

    Pen and Paper would also sort of work, I suspect that a computing device (with extern battery) would be the ideal way to keep being creative and avoid just being passive for a hundred days or so.

    If I was down there, I’d ask for an iTouch and a stylus so that I could draw a “Stuck in the Bottom of a Mine — The Webcomic”. It’d get a billion hits.

  3. creativepony.com says:

    Forget iPod Touches. iPhones would fit down those holes no worries. They’re better than the iPod Touch in a whole bunch of ways, but the most important ways are: Video Calling with speakerphone, longer battery life, and the ability to place phone calls. Of course, there’d be no GSM signal down in that cave – except they’ve already sent a phone line down, so surely they could send a coax down one of the holes with a little antenna on the end, and hook it up to a picocell up top, which would give them all telephone and internet access. Better yet, the iPhones would happily hook up to the mini projector for communal video watching, while also still providing personal videos for those who’re sick of being cramped together with the rest of their coworkers, and just want some time alone.

    I don’t see why they’re sending that iPod up to the surface for charging. An iPhone has built in speakers (though probably not of quite the same mediocre quality as the iPod Speakers they’ve provided) and can charge off as little as 200ma at 5v. The phone line they’ve already installed could easily provide enough power to charge an iPhone for all of them, and could probably still act as a functional phone line with standard equipment.

    Aside from that tech angle, just food. Give them some booze too! For goodness sake, if there’s anyone who deserved a drink more than those guys, I’ve yet to meet them! Alcohol is an effective and social way to relieve stress in tough times!

  4. Aud1073cH says:

    News reports from September 11, 2010 and later (via Google news search) report that ventilation has been improved, and the Chilean miners are now receiving 2 packs of cigarettes per day. That’s 40 smokes to split between the 33 miners. (I’m a non-smoker btw)

    They have also now been given electricity.

    Also, this is posted September 15, so why is the graphic post-dated September 20?

  5. mpark says:

    I’m more worried about the stuff they have to send up. Or maybe they’ll just drop down a ton of Febreze. Or noseplugs.