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May 1998 Vol. 13, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Flotsam & Jetsam

from the May, 1998 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Tough Divers. Larry Harris Taylor didnt agree with the conclusions of the author of our piece on how scuba divers seem to have a higher pain threshold. While the author believed that nitrogen solubility, cold, and concentration were possible explanations for reduced pain, Dr. Taylor says I submit that the presence of exercise-induced beta endorphin is a more likely explanation, since it has been repeatedly demonstrated that divers show increased levels of beta endorphin, the bodys endogenous opioid peptide.

Loud Shrimp. As divers, we know that the Silent World isnt very silent; fish and critter sounds are ubiquitous. But just how noisy is it? Researchers from the New England Aquarium, MIT, and Cornell University found that whaling areas in the North Atlantic have about the same noise level as a busy New York intersection, or more than 100 decibels. Clicking noises of shrimp registered more than 80 decibels.

Missed the Point. Just like the Beardstown Ladies, Ben didnt get his math right in the piece on the rate of bends among Navy divers: he moved a decimal point. Out of 10,000 dives, there was an accident rate of .039 percent and a DCS rate of .026 percent, or 200 times less than conventional wisdom holds. Thanks to readers Ken Kurtis and Joe Myers for getting the numbers right.

Blowing Your Hose. New diver Mike Dice was diving off the Kona Coast with a newly-purchased TUSA regulator. He was at a depth of 50 feet when the low pressure hose hooked up to the second stage he was breathing from popped out of the fitting connecting it to the first stage. After surfacing via buddy breathing, he checked out the assembly that blew off. The hose on the defective second stage didnt appear to have any marks in it that you would expect to see from a rubber hose that had a crimp tightly installed. All the hoses came with a thin rubber sleeve over the fitting in question, so I never pulled it back to see if the crimp was there. While his dive store replaced the hose, we write this both as a cautionary note to check your hoses and as an inquiry. If this has happened to you, let us know.

Blown Tank. On February 1, a Walter Kidde aluminum cylinder ruptured at Force E dive shop in River Beach, Florida. The 17-yearold technician lost two fingers and received facial injuries as well. As happens over the net these days, all sorts of misinformation circulated about the explosion, prompting the man most expert in tanks, Bill High, president of PSI Inc., to set the record straight. He reported that the tank was manufactured before July, 1982, and was not part of any special group of scuba cylinders subject to recall. In fact, he said, no such list or group exists. High says that cylinder explosions usually can be traced to damage or abuse in service and that the six cylinder explosions that occurred in 1996 were all traceable to tank problems that would have been detected well in advance of the failure if the tank had been inspected by a properly-trained technician. Highs PSI, Inc., is working toward that end: the company conducts more that 200 workshops each year offering training in visual inspection of cylinders. It also offers correspondence courses. For further information, contact Professional Scuba Inspectors, 6531 Northeast 198th Street, Seattle, WA 98155, 206-442- 8265

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