Airplane manufacturers, for instance, are building passenger seats much stronger — they're able to withstand 16 Gs of force. So they don't rip off the floor and go flying through the cabin, injuring passengers, as they did years ago....People are doing a great job too:
"A lot of effort was put into slowing down the spread of fire after a crash landing, making the materials in the interior of the cabin more fire resistant and also changing the materials such that they wouldn't emit very highly toxic fumes," [says Hans Weber, president of TECOP International].
After Flight 214 broke apart, flight attendants were able to quickly deploy the inflatable slides and get everyone off the plane before the fire erupted.Credit to the flight attendants and to the passengers getting up and out of there. You'd never know, watching the crowds shuffling about in the airport and drinking and drowsing on board that ordinary people can move in such an efficient and coordinated manner.
Imminent death — as the old saying goes — concentrates the mind wonderfully.
Ah! What we could do if we faced a sudden stark threat, as our ancestors did in evolutionary times! We inherited the capacities they needed then, but we've got so little use for them these days. We go to action movies and ride roller coasters or paraglide to activate the antiquated bodily systems. It's not that we're nostalgic for danger, but built into our depths, there's a need for something that we — in no conscious sense — desire.
Still, if the moment comes, no matter how drunk or obese or debilitated you might be, you will get up out of that seat and — exactly when it's your turn, following the orders of the very flight attendant you may have complained to over nothing 10 minutes ago — plunge down that slide.