Thursday, December 4, 2008

Driving the Zamboni

Zamboni: originally developed by Frank Zamboni in '49, registered as an international trademark, it is nonetheless used as a generic colloquialism for ice resurfacing vehicles in ice hockey arenas. Think of a giant ride-on lawn mower that melts the ice and then squeegees it smooth, using an internal combustion engine for power both to move & melt.

They can slice your fingers off. [well, duh] They can scare the bejeepers out of small children by leaving a bloody trail of crimson transmission fluid on the ice. They can become runaway weapons of vehicular mayhem if controlled by a vodka-swilling driver. When will society wise up to the inherent dangers of the seemingly innocent Zamboni?

From our polite neighbors to the frigid north, comes more Zamboni baloney:
Public health officials in Quebec City are alerting people who attended a weekend hockey tournament in Portneuf to be vigilant about any breathing problems, after a Zamboni used at the event emitted toxic fumes.

Seven people were sent to hospital with chest pains and breathing problems after playing hockey at the St. Ubalde arena rink on Sunday.

Two of them are still in intensive care, while another is suffering from a build-up of liquid in the lungs. Health officials suspect the patients inhaled nitrogen-oxide emitted by a Zamboni machine with an improperly calibrated motor, operating in an arena that wasn't very well ventilated.

Other problems in hockey rinks involved spewing microscopic particles. I ran into an unexpected international/cultural barrier - with another English speaking country: Canada. We in the U.S. often use grams per cubic meter when measuring pollution. With particulate problems, we use parts per million (ppm). Not the folks up north~
"What's more, 14 per cent also tested higher than 100,000 particles of pollution per cubic centimetre, roughly the equivalent of the air quality that might be experienced standing next to Toronto's Highway 401, the busiest road in the country." ~~ parts pollution per cubic centimeter? What is that? pppcc? I've never heard of that as a unit. wierd. Although, I suppose someone I know will promptly inform me that it's something like a barn in nuclear physics. :)
  • At a Pittsburgh Penguins' game: looks like the zamboni ran over a wayward penguin (way cool pic)
  • Choping off kid's fingers with a zamboni is apparently as easy as with a tractor PTO shaft
  • ZUI: zamboni under the influence

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