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Underground High-Pressure Prisons

That shaft is one MEAN mother-******.
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How about a prison built, for instance, at the bottom of a deep mine shaft somewhere in the West? The trick here is that the entire prison is sealed and pressurized up to twice the usual atmospheric pressure. You'd be admitted at the surface. Going down would be no problem, although the elevator would have to be a slow one. But since the prison is pressurized to two atmospheres, once a prisoner is acclimated to the pressure, he would not be able to just hijack the elevator to the surface and escape; he would get Caisson's disease, the diver's bends, and either become disabled (perhaps permanently) or die.

To be properly discharged would involve a slow walk up a gentle ramp, taking several days. Sleeping quarters would be provided at certain levels along the ramp. At the surface would be the final set of doors and barriers, but by then the former inmate would be acclimated to surface pressure again.

The same restrictions apply to the guards working down in the prison; they would have to depressurize in the same way as discharged prisoners. The administrators could work on the surface. I think this is a great idea--you don't DARE try to escape--and if you did try to make your way slowly up the ramp, by the time you got to the surface, they'd know you were missing. . . .

deacon, May 26 2001

WIBNI http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/WIBNI
Continued here... [egnor, May 26 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

...or maybe here. http://www.halfbake...intless_20Bickering
[egnor, May 26 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

MINT http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/MINT
Maybe It's Not Terrific [thumbwax, May 26 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Cryptomnesia http://www.skepdic.com/cryptomn.html
From the skeptic's dictionary definition of "cryptomnesia": "Cryptomnesia may also explain how the apparent plagiarism of such people as Helen Keller or George Harrison of the Beatles might actually be cases of hidden memory..." [ejs, May 26 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       Good idea, but it would be prohibitively expensive. Also, if the guards had to chase an escaping prisoner, they would have to go the same speed..
salmon, May 26 2001

       Ah, but the beauty of it is that you wouldn't have to chase anybody, just telephone the guardhouse on the surface and tell them that there's an escapee on the way up.
deacon, May 26 2001

       Somewhere in the west? How about, oh, say, Death Valley?   

       "I saw this in a book, and wouldn't it be neat if..."   

       'Streetlethal'. by Stephen Barnes.
StarChaser, May 26 2001

       [StarChaser] Thanks for the left-handed compliment of assuming that everybody's read the same books you have. No, I haven't read _Streetlethal_ (which apparently includes at least one scene in an underground, high-pressure prison) or even HEARD of it, but I think you ought to at least make sure I've read the book before you accuse me of callow plagiarism. Once again, a good idea is a good idea, even if somebody else has come up with it independently. Judge it on its merits.   

       And for the record, wisearse, I got the idea from a documentary on the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. . . .
deacon, May 26 2001, last modified May 29 2001

       If it's going to be out West (in the U.S.), watch out for fault lines... since it's pressurized, one little earthquake could probably depressurize the whole thing and kill everyone.
PotatoStew, May 26 2001

thumbwax, May 27 2001

angel, May 27 2001

       A MINTy fresh idea for verbiage. See link.
thumbwax, May 27 2001

       <shrug> Aside from saying Death Valley directly, your idea is exactly what was in the book. Yes, there are coincidences <All the code names for the beaches for D-Day were in a crossword puzzle the day before, frex> but they tend to be few and far between.   

       I had this idea independently myself, although mine was underwater rather than underground, before I read the book.
StarChaser, May 27 2001

       Yeah wisearse, what the Starman said.
thumbwax, May 27 2001

       [StarChaser] Calling somebody a plagiarist is not a good way to win friends and influence people, BWCB. If I say I came up with it by myself, I came up with it by myself. Accept it. Lie down. Have a stress pill.   

       [thumbwax] <shatner>Gee, I . . . hope that wasn't directed at me. . . .</shatner>   

       [PotatoStew, degroof] Thanks for the constructive comments, really. I was beginning to think every poster here was just a random smartass intent on showing off his limited erudition. Now, if they had been referring to a WELL-KNOWN book instead of one that apparently only two people have read . . . .   

       [mephista] *looks around puzzled for a minute* Huh? Did somebody say something?   

       Had enough?
deacon, May 28 2001

       deacon, it's safe to assume somebody has had the same idea - any idea. I wrote a short story which only 2 people ever read along the same lines in 1974 as a freshman in high school. The instructor indicated the same downsides which I won't bother to rehash. Nevertheless, it is considered unwise to behave like a pitbull when defending an idea. If someone demonstrates smartass intent by calling another in here a wisearse or somesuch, I merely reflect the same to them as a third party. Expecting bakers to be on your good side or end up being called a wisearse is not a good way to win friends and influence people. If I say I came up with it by myself in 1974, I came up with it by myself in 1974, though I can say as I did then - that Martian Chronicles was my inspiration. Accept it. Lie down. Have a stress pill. Had enough? It's just a manifestation of karma - in one of its many guises. I really really really dislike having to feed ones own behavioral pattern back to them in order to keep the bakery clean and in hopes that we can just say what our RAM conjures up.
thumbwax, May 28 2001

       After that, I don't know whether I've been insulted or not. You're not one of those computer programs that goes around trying to convince everyone you're a human, are you?
deacon, May 28 2001

       Thumbwax, Ray Bradbury is my fiancee's cousin...   

       Deacon, frothing at the mouth when someone points out that your idea is in all but one tiny detail exactly the same as one that was in a book ten years ago isn't a good way to win friends either.   

       Fortunately, I don't care. People who are worthy of being friends will be, those who are not, won't.   

       People who steal things often claim they belong to them when they're caught with it. I don't particularly care whether you came up with it on your own or not, as I did on my own as well. 'Accept it. Lie down. Have a stress pill.' Discovering that someone else already had your idea is no big deal, unless you start screaming and flinging feces like a monkey...   

       So far you've managed to insult at least two and possibly three people. Want to try for more?
StarChaser, May 28 2001

       Woaah chill out people, remeber we're all comunicating in a language which we plagiarised from day one(an assumption), in music it's pretty much established that you can no longer create a melody which sounds musical and be totally original at the same time, its the way you fuse different styles and progressions toggether which creates the points of differentiation. post modernism in music (for want of a better example..). If we could utilize the expertise in all the different fields of science in one single meta-science, then I think technolgy now would look like it will do in 30 years (unless AI fills in the gaps sooner). But what do I know, I'm a drunken bum... pass the meths!
solomungus, May 28 2001

       [solomungus] Thanks for the reasoned response. . . .   

       . . . on the other hand, . . .   

       [StarChaser] No, I think I'll settle for just insulting YOU. You've called me a plagiarist, publicly, so don't complain when you get your own stale shit thrown back in your face, you deserve it. If you're going to call ANYONE a plagiarist, you'd better be prepared to back it up or be righteously flamed by someone with no remorse in the matter. Now then, you've made a specific charge of plagiarism about something I wrote, in a public forum where anybody can read it. I've stated, truthfully, that I came up with the idea on my own. Either prove that your accusation of me is truthful--or withdraw it. Publicly. I'm getting tired of you.
deacon, May 29 2001

       Deacon, Chill Out. I Have Absolutely No Doubt Whatsoever That StarChaser Was Quoting Another Thread And Included It In His Initial Response. There Are, Have Been, Will Be "I Saw It In A Book..." Posts Here in The Halfbakery. But Don't Insult Someone Because You Feel They Insulted Your Intelligence. I've Had My Share Of Flaming And I'll Flame Someone Here If I Feel Strongly That They Consider Halfbakers Beneath Them - And Repeatedly Undermine Character Of Bakery Or Bakers. The Way I See It, You Throw Shit On StarChaser - Who Has Been Here For An Extended Period Of Time - Or Any Other Halfbaker , You Throw It On Me. Never Met Anybody Here, Likely Won't. But I Respect His And Their Opinion. I Hope You'll Respect Mine And StarChasers - Let Alone Anyone Elses In The Future - In Any Subsequent Thread Discussions. Fact Of The Matter Is, The Idea Itself, Well Laid Out Plan That It My Be - Is An Unworkable Proposition. So Get Back To The Drawing Board And Have Some Fun While You're At It.
thumbwax, May 29 2001

       Ooh, I'm quaking in my little boots, I am.   

       Your idea is -exactly- what was in the book, with the minor exception of actually saying 'death valley'. I don't care whether you came up with it yourself or not. It's irrelevant to the fact that "Your idea is -exactly- what was in the book, with the minor exception of actually saying 'death valley'."   

       I didn't call you a plagarist, you started wearing that hair shirt on your own. If you read what I posted, instead of just screeching and beating your knuckles on the ground, you might realize this.   

       If it makes you happy, go ahead and order your 'Tragic Figger of a Man' kit, wear your sackcloth and carry a sign about how kr00l I am.
StarChaser, Jun 01 2001

       I assume that was an example of StarChaser's dry British wit.   

       OK, OK, I'll call a halt to the vitriol if SC does. I have no wish for further unpleasantness. But If he insults me just once more, I'm giving a fishbone to every one of his ideas, on the grounds that bad sports [not to mention people who gratuitously call other posters plagiarists, even if they don't use the exact word] should not be allowed to post here. As I said, I'm sick of his b*llsh*t.   

       And I refuse to withdraw the idea, seeing as how I thought it up myself, and it's a good one. Cheers, matey. Now I need to lie down and have a stress pill.
deacon, Jun 01 2001

       hey everybody! i've been away from this thread for a few days. did i miss anything exciting? and why is it so cold in here, your honour?
mihali, Jun 01 2001

       I way dig War-used to have all their albums. Was it Connie Francis who sang "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to"?
thumbwax, Jun 01 2001

       I thought "public:punishment" was the category name. On the next edition of FOX's "When Geeks go bad," we'll be exploring the seemier side of keyboard stalking....it's all just fun. Always remember that it takes over a hundred muscles to frown but only three to slap the crap out of someone.
Reverend D, Jun 01 2001

       this thread is *still* alive? Some of the smartest bakers are having protracted and childish tantrums? Stop. Please, just stop and move on...
snarfyguy, Jun 01 2001

       Rev_D: 'seamier'.   

       Deacon, go ahead. One peevy little fishbone will not change the overall value of my ideas. I responded to you when YOU attacked ME, and have been defending myself since then. I am sick of your bullshit as well.
StarChaser, Jun 02 2001

       Bickering aside, this may not be as good an idea as it seems. Sure, the prisoners can't get out quickly, but they can easily take the guards hostage, since nobody else can get in to help them.
bookworm, Jun 03 2001

       "Fire Down Below!" I really tried to keep it short by saying "MINT" at the outset.
thumbwax, Jun 03 2001

       To get back on topic.... simply having a prison in a mine... or on an oil rig ala "Face Off" would eliminate escape totally. Only one way in or out.
CasaLoco, Jan 14 2002

       Bookworm: No reason someone can't go in, it's only when DEpressurizing that one has the problem.
StarChaser, Jan 15 2002

       This bickering is ridiculous. People come up with identical ideas all the time. Actually, if someone comes up with an idea truly independently and yet someone else had come up with it already, that is often a sign that the idea had some merit. It may be somewhat discouraging not to be able to get any money or much credit for the idea, but nonetheless the person who came up with it should still take some personal satisfaction.   

       Real-world example by yours truly: around the time of the Pentium's "divide" bug (which came about because doing long division 2 bits at a time is much more complicated than doing it 1 bit at a time), I was reading a paper describing an "improved" method of doing division 2 bits at a time. I found it interesting, but thought it was still too complicated. So I figured out a practical way of eliminating the "hard" cases and doing it 4, 8, 16, or any desired-sized "chunk" at a time [some extra work is required before the division, based upon the chunk size, but doing an 80-bit divide as 20 4-bit chunks or 10 8-bit chunks would be a big improvement over 40 2-bit chunks, esp. given that the hardware would be simpler; running PGP on a 64-bit machine, it would be worthwhile to use 64-bit chunks].   

       Unfortunately, when I did a patent search it turned out someone had, quite unbeknownst to me, patented a nearly identical method about a year before. Nonetheless, I took some real satisfaction in having independently derived a solution to a problem that had boggled computer scientists for many years.   

       BTW, hint to the method: when doing long-division by hand, you can speed things up if you multiply divisor and dividend by a constant such that the first digit of the resulting divisor is a "9".
supercat, Jan 15 2002

       You mean like 99 X 72 = (Shortcut 72-1=*71, 99-71=*28) = 7128?

<bellows>I'm still waiting for The StarMan to respond to //I assume that was an example of StarChaser's dry British wit.//</bellows>
thumbwax, Jan 15 2002

       Doesn't it take more than one atmosphere to cause nitrogen to concentrate in the blood? I thought it was along the lines of 3 or more atmospheres.
LeBain, Jan 15 2002

       Supercat: The bickering was over several months ago. Check the dates.   

       Thumbwax: I did. Next annotation. He tried the little kid's thing of 'Ok, I'll stop if you do but I get to say all this stuff about you first'. I explained that tantrums don't impress me.
StarChaser, Jan 18 2002

       LeBain: one or more atmosphere of pressure causes nitrogen to accumulate. I don't think it's in the blood, but in the joints. I could be wrong, though, because my scuba class had so much dull physics in it that I sorta spaced out a little (rapture of the shallow, y'know).
snarfyguy, Jan 18 2002

       pretty sure you are right snarfy. its the joints affected.
po, Jan 18 2002

       One extra atmosphere is equivalent to ten metres underwater. Beyond about six metres I start to consider things like decompression sickness, but for diving purpose you wouldn't stay down long enough that nitrogen absorption is a problem at ten metres.   

       It's the "long ramp" idea that bothers me: The pressure isn't going to significantly vary up the long ramp, because air is so much less dense than water. If you wanted to add 1 bar to the air pressure simply with depth, the distance between your prison and the surface would have to be the same as the distance between Earth's surface and the edge of the atmosphere. The pressure would have to be maintained artificially in a sealed unit, so there's no need to have the thing underground. Just have a few airlocks that can be depressurised slowly to let people out. If anyone were to dig a way out everyone inside would get the bends (internal pressure doors, perhaps?), and if they managed to sneak into the airlock to get out they'd have to spend a long time there, and probably get caught. It's a silly idea though. I don't even know why I'm discussing it. Must be the close proximity to 6000 pints of beer this morning. No, I wasn't drinking, but we're venting and tapping the casks for a Real Ale festival.
Rugrat, Feb 24 2002

       The original book, where I still believe he got the idea from, had sets of airlocks up the ramp. He sort of mentioned it near the end, the 'final set of doors and barriers'.   

       The problems with digging a tunnel or sneaking through the airlocks are the purpose of pressurizing it. Having all your joints lock up and start screaming if you don't follow the correct way out is a very hard wall to climb.
StarChaser, Feb 24 2002

       Just kidnap a guard with your homemade knife/gun made in the workshop, and demand they let you out. But don't most prisoners escape during transit or from court, hospital, visits outside, rather than from prison itself?
pottedstu, Feb 25 2002

       Rugrat: a nitpick: // If you wanted to add 1 bar to the air pressure simply with depth, the distance between your prison and the surface would have to be the same as the distance between Earth's surface and the edge of the atmosphere //   

       Not true; pressure is an exponential function of height, because the thicker air weighs more. The atmosphere's scale height is ~8.4 km, so to double the pressure you need to go down only 8.4*ln(2) = 5.8 kilometers.
wiml, Feb 26 2002

       This is a great idea. Unfortunately, some guards would like to leave early some days, so they'll probably be oxygen tanks or some other way to get out of adjusting to surface pressure. Prisoners could steal this and be out the next day, although there will be ways that they'll stand out in public.....
Shadow777, Feb 28 2003

       I heard an interview with the head of the British Prison Service where he said that escape-proof prisons weren't even desirable. Its not hard to build them if you want to - Alcatraz, anyone? - but apparently the existence of a tiny possibility of escape helps keep prisoners sane and calm. It also reduces prison suicide, which IMO is a *far* more serious problem than occasional (and usually short-term) escapes.
spacemoggy, May 25 2004

       Much cheaper alternative: Implant a radio controlled poison capsule into every prisoner. If prisoner crosses the perimeter, the poison is realeased.
kinemojo, Mar 16 2006

       This is good. Aside from the ramp thing not working (you would have to have airlocks every so often, else the pressure would diminish), this is good. Just up the pressure a lot. You won't get the bends from a measley 2 ATM. I get that much from hiccuping.
DesertFox, Mar 16 2006

       Wow. I've stumbled over a five year old argument.   

       What [deacon] seems to have missed is that pointing out that someone thought of it before you is not the same thing as accusing you of plagerism. Oh, well, bakery life.
normzone, Mar 16 2006


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