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kottke.org posts about hot dogs

The Table Saw That Won’t Cut Your Fingers Off

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 10, 2021

In a recent issue of the MachinePix newsletter, Kane Hsieh interviewed Dr. Steve Gass, the inventor of the SawStop, the table saw that automatically stops cutting when it detects human skin (therefore saving fingers and hands from being cut off). Before we get to that, you’ve probably seen the company’s hot dog demo but if you haven’t, check out these super slow-motion clips of the SawStop blades stopping in a matter of milliseconds after making contact:

The minuscule amount of damage to the hot dog is mind-blowing. Where did this demo idea come from? From the interview:

What was the first thing? It was probably a stationary blade with me just touching it with my finger. Once we started spinning the blade, I wasn’t too eager to do that test with my finger, so we just thought ‘what do we have that’s sort of finger like with similar electrical properties’ — hot dogs are similar, and I had one in the fridge, so I grabbed one and ran it into the blade. Sure enough, it worked.

There was a point where we had to know a hotdog was a good surrogate for a finger. You can imagine, we could do this demo at trade shows with a hot dog, but there’s always a smart-ass that says they don’t care about hot dogs, and wanted to see it with a finger. So before the first trade show I had to test it with my actual finger. Thankfully it worked!

And because what the saw is detecting is “the capacitance of the human body”, you have to be holding the hot dog in order for the demo to work.

The whole interview is worth a read — like this bit about why big tool companies were not interested in licensing this feature: because they aren’t liable for the injuries caused by their products:

The fundamental question came down to economics. Almost a societal economic structure question. The CPSC says table saws result in about $4B in damage annually. The market for table saws is about $200-400M. This is a product that does almost 10x in damage as the market size. There’s a disconnect — these costs are borne by individuals, the medical system, workers comp — and not paid by the power tools company. Because of that, there’s not that much incentive to improve the safety of these tools. Societally if there was an opportunity to spend $5 to save $10, we’d want to do that. But in this chain there’s a break in people that can make those changes and people that are affected, so it’s not done.

How hot dogs are made again

posted by Aaron Cohen   Nov 10, 2012

The last Kottke.org post about how hot dogs are made was almost 4 years ago, and that video doesn’t event work anymore and I say Saturday is the day to learn stuff anyway.
Two things about this video:
1) The scene of hot dogs shooting out of the hot dog maker and into the pile of hot dogs is mesmerizing. Virtually every ‘How x is made’ video has a similarly awesome shot.
2) These dudes make almost 2.5 million hot dogs per shift, which… Well, there are far, far, far more hot dogs being made in this country everyday than any of us realize.

(via ★andre)

Things that are better than a New York City hot dog

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 31, 2009

In response to a hyperbolic statement from a friend about the goodness of New York City hot dogs, Matthew Diffee compiles an extensive list of stuff that’s better. A sampling:

Nice fluffy towels
Believing in yourself
Finding a lost twenty in your coat pocket
Prince Edward Island
Coming home after being away for a while
Submarines
Supermodels
A kiss in the rain

How hot dogs are made

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 09, 2008

How hot dogs are made. It’s true, sometimes you don’t want to know how the sausage gets made. (via cyn-c)

King Kobayashi’s long reign is over. Joey

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 03, 2007

King Kobayashi’s long reign is over. Joey Chestnut broke the record for eating the most hot dogs in 12 minutes yesterday: 59 1/2. He bested the previous record by a whopping 5 3/4 dogs.

Update: To put this in perspective, Chestnut bested the old record by roughly 10%. This would be like running the 100m dash in 8.8 seconds, long jumping 32.5 feet, or completing a marathon in 1:51.

Takeru Kobayashi wins his 6th straight Nathan’s

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 04, 2006

Takeru Kobayashi wins his 6th straight Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest and sets a new world record (53 3/4 dogs in 12 minutes) in the process. Newcomer Joey Chestnut finished 2nd with 52 franks.

Short list of hot dog places in

posted by Jason Kottke   May 30, 2006

Short list of hot dog places in NYC. What, no Crif Dogs? That’s unpossible.

Ed Levine gets served a hot dog

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 19, 2006

Ed Levine gets served a hot dog at Per Se. “I’m quite sure this was the first time Thomas Keller ever served anyone a hot dog in one of his restaurants.” Let’s see if this works…I totally want a hot dog next time I’m at Per Se. (via the eater)

Short roundup of NYC hot dogs. My

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 29, 2005

Short roundup of NYC hot dogs. My favorite is still Nathan’s, although you can’t beat Crif Dogs for ambiance (cocktail Ms. Pac-Man) and *wrapping a hot dog in bacon*. (via afb)

Kobayashi wins 5th straight Nathan’s hot dog eating contest

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 05, 2005

Kobayashi wins 5th straight Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas placed second with 37 dogs, setting an American record.