back to article LOHAN's fantastical flying truss menaces kiddies

We at El Reg's Special Projects Bureau generally have little contact with the internet commentard mosh pit, where the bottom feeders vie for immortality in the pantheon of the obtuse. However, from time to time, we're obliged to confront the unwashed masses down at YouTube, which as readers will be aware is the Rwandan …


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  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Death from the skies

    > Well, the balsa wood truss weighed a hefty 173g,

    That's fair enough, but a titanium rod could easily skewer an unwitting land-dweller (comments about "especially if you sharpened the end" will be omitted for reasons of taste, ooops!)

    1. Peter Rathlev

      Re: Death from the skies

      Yeah. Isn't the typical bullet less than 10g? They're not made from balsa wood of course. :-)

      1. Remy Redert

        Re: Death from the skies

        And you will find, as per the Mythbusters experiments, that a free falling bullet has a terminal velocity sufficiently low that they are very unlikely to cause serious harm, let alone kill anyone.

        The problem isn't bullets (or in this case balsa wood trusses) falling straight down, it's the ones fired at an angle that drop from the skies with still sufficient speed and thus energy to penetrate the skin.

  2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    What's your favourite car?

    "Yes, but if you did like cars, what would be your favourite?"

    "The Humber Monoglot..."

    ... and the conversation proceeded along well-worn lines...

  3. Oor Nonny-Muss
    Thumb Up

    Surely the answer to his question is...

    "A quiet one where nobody speaks".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A much better follow-up question

    Why don't you like cars?

  5. TRT Silver badge

    Serves you right...

    for getting a lift of Jeremy Clarkson.

  6. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  7. AndrueC Silver badge

    I can see the headline now. "School child hit by falling truss after balloon goes up."

    1. Mike Richards Silver badge

      And think of the publicity

      LOHAN drops truss, stuns children! See the shocking video.

  8. Andrew Moore

    Your favourite car...

    Was the village idiot called Dave??? Because I think he's working in our company now.

    1. Ben Holmes

      Re: Your favourite car...

      They're ALL called Dave.

      1. Psmiffy

        Re: They are ALL called Dave

        Yes sir, you are absolutely right.

        1. andreas koch

          Re: They are ALL called Dave

          ... and I thought it was Trevor.

          My bad.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. VinceH

    The village idiot - I think I might know him. And him. And him.

    > After an hour of banal gibbering, he said: "What's your favourite car?"

    > I replied: "I don't like cars."

    > Undeterred, he insisted: "Yes, but if you did like cars, what would be your favourite?"

    This does remind me of the sort of question I get from time to time, when asking about something where the answer depends on oh so many different factors. Probably the worst one was when I upgraded someone's hard drive, and they asked how many files the new drive would hold. Answer: "It depends what you put on it." Response: "But you're an expert, you must have some idea."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The village idiot - I think I might know him. And him. And him.

      Twice as many as the old one (assuming it was double the capacity).

    2. Captain DaFt

      Re: The village idiot - I think I might know him. And him. And him.

      You should have told him:

      "One, if it's big enough."

      Then enjoy the rapid panapoly of looks crossing his face.

      1. VinceH
        Thumb Up

        Re: The village idiot - I think I might know him. And him. And him.

        "One, if it's big enough."

        Ha, yeah, I like that. I'll give it as an answer if I'm ever asked that again. :)

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: The village idiot - I think I might know him. And him. And him.

      "How long does it take for an email to arrive?" (note: 1998 or 1999, so fast, always-on connections were still a little thin on the ground).

      "Anything between a few seconds and two months" was not exactly the answer he wanted, even though the "2 months" was wildly optimistic (earlier that year I had received an email which had become stuck on some server for nearly 10 months).

      The suggestion that burning that 100+ Megabyte CAD file on CD and hand-delivering it to the engineering shop two blocks away would be quicker and more certain of delivery than trying to squeeze it though the 256kb/s line to HQ, where it would be queued for squeezing through their outside pipe, to then await retrieval by the engineering shop (with quite likely yet another not-too-fast line) was *also* something he didn't want to hear.

  11. Sander van der Wal


    An unsuspecting child is a form of wildlife?

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: Wildlife?

      You'd definitely think so if you met my nephew. He's a complete monkey.

    2. Paul_Murphy

      Re: Wildlife?

      Until they start earning - yes.

      What do you think they are - ornaments?


  12. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    And as for youtube comments, has anyone else noticed that every video featuring animals of any sort invariably has at least one comment declaring it to be animal cruelty? Even videos of lions on the Serengeti chasing zebra are "abuse" now. One example I recall even declared that there would be no "abuse" if only us horrible humans weren't forcing these poor animals to eat each other...

    anything that contrives to make my witterings look sane in comparison MUST be bad...

    1. DJ 2

      Well in this case, we need to send these people to the Serengeti and comfort these poor lions. At least then, the lions wouldn't have to chase poor defenceless animals for food.

      1. Michael Thibault

        At least not far. Or for long.

        Capital idea, btw.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Roger Varley

      The problem with this sort of thing is that yes, it does remove the more irritating and mindless cr@p, but you do miss out on the occasional gem of outstanding fsckwittery

    2. Mako

      YouTube Comment Snob

      I don't read YouTube comments at all as a rule, but this looks ace.

      If there was some way of making it generic - so you could apply it to your view of the internet as a whole - that would be fantastic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: YouTube Comment Snob

        Dansguardian *should* be able to do it if you are good with regexs

        Anon as the author reads El Reg ;)

    3. Oninoshiko

      you could just not read the comments.

      It's the same effect, really.

  14. MaXimaN

    It may well not maim or kill an unsuspecting child as it falls out of the sky, but did anyone stop to think about what it might do to a suspecting child?

    No, I didn't think so. Murderers!

  15. Peter Mount

    Quit launching balloons?

    I have a feeling what the payloads of weather balloons weigh a lot more than LOHAN would do & how many are launched around the world each day? In fact how many accidents have happened with something falling out of the sky let alone from a balloon?

    Definitely a comical comment from a troll or typical scaremonger/nanny state type moron ;-)

    1. Paul_Murphy

      Re: Quit launching balloons?

      >n fact how many accidents have happened with something falling out of the sky let alone from a balloon?

      There you go:

      Though of course it wasn't really an accident.

    2. Hugh Pumphrey

      Re: Quit launching balloons?

      "I have a feeling what the payloads of weather balloons weigh a lot more than LOHAN"

      A modern radiosonde such as the Vaisala RS92D weighs between 150g and 280g, depending on which battery you order. It is about the size of three fag packets.

  16. unhappy bunny

    The kinetic energy of an object is half the mass times the square of the velocity. The speed at which the balsa falls is far more important than the mass of the truss. Bullets are quite light but travel at very high speeds, that's why they do a lot of damage. It's why birdstrikes are such a problem for fast jets, hitting a sparrow at 600 knots can cause very serious problems.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Bullets at terminal velocity actually do very little damage - as do birds at terminal velocity.

      In the case of bullets, they leave the gun at a speed much greater than their terminal velocity, and once outside the barrel immediately start slowing. Only if shot, more or less, exactly straight up in the air do they ever actually slow to terminal velocity before impact. As someone else mentioned, Mythbusters demonstrated this in an episode.

      Regarding birds and aircraft... again we are talking about speeds greater than the terminal velocity of either the birds or planes - only achieved via the jet engines on the plane.

      What you're talking - while correct from a technical standpoint - completely neglects the concept of terminal velocity, and as such incorrectly implies (or at least appears to imply) that there is substance to the concern.

      I would submit that the terminal velocity of the truss will be quite low, and in combination with the low mass incapable of doing any significant damage to anything.

  17. Carl

    And The Village Idiot...

    ...Went on to be Chief Inspector of the Met...


  18. Big Al
    Thumb Up

    Timeless wisdom

    The first two paragraphs of this story are timeless wisdom, worthy of printing, framing and placing in a prominent position near the workspace.

    Thanks for making my day by proving that I'm not the only person who thinks this way!

  19. Tim Elphick

    Although I followed PARIS closely,

    To be honest I haven't yet read every article about construction wooden trusses so I'm basing my knowledge on your headlines. However heavy a balsa truss might not be, I would still be surprised and probably a bit annoyed if one fell on me.

    Also, I have read about released ballons being hazardous to animals when they land.

    Also also, sounds like Dave has a similar game to one I like to play with my friends. I call it "If you had to".

    1. andreas koch

      Re: Although I followed PARIS closely,



      However heavy a balsa truss might not be, I would still be surprised and probably a bit annoyed if one fell on me.



      Not at all. If the SPB manages to drop their truss on me, I'd feel: 1.) honoured and 2.) demand a retrieval fee of at least a sixpack of my choice.

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: balloons being harmful to animals

      I think you might be referring to the recent fad for setting Chinese lanterns floating through the sky for any or no reason. Some of them that were (are?) sold in the UK had metal frames to hold the structure, and some ruminants were eating parts of the frames and then having punctured stomachs. See

  20. Dave Rickmers

    As someone living in the mountains near Los Angeles

    I can attest that the wood is not an issue but that the flaccid Latex and/or Mylar draped in the shrubbery is ugly as all get-out.

    1. Jash
      Paris Hilton

      Re: As someone living in the mountains near Los Angeles

      Agreed Dave - 'Flaccid Latex' is NEVER a good look as general rule of thumb..

  21. Dave 32


    Yes, I think we should all be against flaccid objects, wither they're deflated weather balloons or anything else!


  22. Jash
    Paris Hilton

    Flaccid Latex

    Agreed Dave - 'Flaccid Latex' is never a good look.. !

  23. Kernel

    An unsuspecting child

    The most likely thing for a child, either unsuspecting or suspecting, to be hit from above by is a chuck of 'blue ice', should they be foolish enough to be playing outside under the approach path at most of the world's airports.

  24. Z80

    The bottom half of the Internet

    Stay away from YouTube comments - there's nothing good there. If you don't heed this advice then "your [sic] an idiot".

  25. Mike Manes

    Momentum kills

    It's the product of mass and speed that allows falling objects to do damage on the ground. This is why they invented parachutes, gents!

  26. Maryland, USA

    "Yes, but if you did like cars, what would be your favourite?"

    When I was 11, my classmate Jeff came over to play. When he left, my sister, then 7, remarked, "I still don't like boys, but if I did, I'd like Jeff."

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge


  27. MajorTom

    Terminal Velocity

    I had a great object lesson on terminal velocity the other day. A model rocket I was flying with a flight computer (accelerometer+altimeter) lost its nosecone on descent. The plastic nosecone fell from hundreds of feet up, with the flight computer (size of a keyfob) attached. I found the nosecone assembly lying unharmed on the grass, and the computer dutifully reported its descent speed was 29 mph. (Under the parachute the usual descent speed is between 10 and 15 mph.)

    If it had hit you it would not have hurt much...just like being hit by a whiffle ball at most.

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