MIT, being at the forefront of a lot of things, is a very neat place to be. It’s also a really dangerous place to be. No, no, don’t freak out, it’s not THAT dangerous. It’s just, well, it has some neat signs. Every once in a while you walk by a door with a sign on it and you wonder “What could possible be in that room?!”
Some are pretty easy to figure out, others aren’t. For instance,
It’s pretty safe to say that there is high voltage on the other sides of those signs, right? That probably means you shouldn’t open those doors. But, in case you’re a little thick, they also have another type of sign for high voltages:
If you open this door you will likely receive a shock to the palm of your hand (which, thanks to a guy named Ohm, means you’ll die). Your best bet is to stay out of this room.
Another sign I’ve seen around is this one.
Mmmmmmmmmm, you can practically smell the radiation. I think what really drives it home, however, are the colors of the sign. When yellow and red are on the same sign, together, you can bet that there’s some serious stuff going down behind that sign.
20 feet, just 20 feet, away from the radioactive sign is this sign
What’s a class 3b laser? It’s a laser that turns a game of laser tag into a game of “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! MY [insert name of body part that now has a hole burned in it]!!!!!”
Another 20 feet down the hall you run into one of these
I’m not an expert on Nitrogen, but I’m pretty convinced that that container is storing compressed gas. I’ve always been a little paranoid about compressed air, I always manage to see them as bombs. One wrong move and BOOM, you get pwnd in the face by Nitrogen. Surviving an explosion can often make for a good story, especially if it involves C4 or fertilizer, but you just can’t brag about surviving a blast of air to the face. Nitrogen containers, they’re just not worth it!
Don’t think for a second that MIT doesn’t put safety first. Scattered all around campus are little yellow boxes like this
There are our favorite colors again, red and yellow. As useful as that button seems to be, I’m not sure how much it could actually do for me if I just got lasered, radiated, electrocuted, and Nitrogen-ed.
The “Danger” icing on the cake, however, is a little shed sitting outside the infinite corridor.
It looks quite innocent, just sitting there in a parking lot, but looks can be deceiving. Have you ever seen this thing before?
It’s called the NFPA 704. It’s used to indicate danger levels of various areas. The three colors indicate:
Blue – Health
Red – Flammability
Yellow – Instability/Reactivity
A number is present in each color. A zero indicates that there is no hazard in that category. A four indicates the highest possible threat. The white area is home to various other warnings and cautions, including
- W – reacts with Water in an unusual or dangerous manner (e.g. cesium, sodium)
- OX or OXY – Oxidizer (e.g. potassium perchlorate, ammonium nitrate)
- COR – Corrosive; strong acid or base (e.g. sulfuric acid, potassium hydroxide)
- BIO – Biological hazard (e.g. smallpox virus)
- POI – Poisonous (e.g. Spider Venom)
- The Radioactive trefoil () – is radioactive (e.g. plutonium, uranium)
- CRY or CRYO – Cryogenic
What’s on the door of this shed?
*Assume the fetal position, insert thumb in mouth, and sob quietly*
Completely ignoring the “Hazardous Waste Storage Area” sign, you are left with the NFPA 704. Here’s a quick translation of what this one means:
- Very short exposure could cause death or major residual injury
- Will rapidly or completely vaporize at normal atmospheric pressure and temperature, or is readily dispersed in air and will burn readily
- Readily capable of detonation or explosive decomposition at normal temperatures and pressures
- Reacts with Water in an unusual or dangerous manner
- Corrosive; strong acid or base
Nobody that I’ve talked to can figure out what might be in there. The closest we’ve got is a Dragon made of sodium with a bucket of nitroglycerin. Any guesses?
My last sign, the most dangerous of all of them, is the one that gets posted in the 38-600 lab as a warning for the cleaning staff. They really shouldn’t go into places they don’t belong, it can be unsafe.
Do you have any idea how many ohms that is?! It’s insane!
My words of advice? If the door has a sign on it that even partially resembles any of the signs I’ve shown you, don’t open it. You may get pwnd. Nobody likes getting pwnd.