A Whole New Idiocy: Subway Surfing

I only heard this morning about a new fad heating up in our glamorous urban centers.

Subway surfing!

It’s easy and fun to do. Just pick a train and hop onto the roof, preferably before it gets up to full speed. See the little guys in the video walking along the top of the train. I don’t know how fast New York subways go, or for how long the, um, “surfers” stay on. (I just looked it up: top speed, 55 mph.)

This has been going on for several years in cities all over the world. In 2018 in New York, the MTA reported 68 deaths, half of which they ruled to be suicides.

Yeahbut, yeahbut! You can get on YouTube!

Oh, well then! What’re we waiting for…?

7 comments on “A Whole New Idiocy: Subway Surfing

  1. As far as something which can cause you physical harm is concerned, trains have incredible potential for injury, because of the weights involved. Add in the element of speed, and the potential for disaster goes off scale.

    YouTube is a wonderful platform, but there is an unintended side to it, because people are paid for the minutes viewed. That’s why you will find videos about some subject of interest, which turn out to have 10 minutes of rambling prologue, before you get to the actual subject of the video.

    So anyone with a smartphone can now create “content” and the only true value, from tne standpoint of the content creator, would be its ability to attract views. This has created an interesting dichotomy, because there are some great YouTube videos being made, but there are innumerable YouTube ideas of questionable veracity, perhaps filled with doctored footage, or foolish sensationalism. Perhaps the most tragic, is that it provides a conduit for harmful ideas to be spread, because many people seem to attach great weight to any video presentation without thinking about the source.

    In simpler terms, stupid, and even dangerous ideas can be spread quite rapidly these days, and the inexperienced can find themselves in harm’s way, trying to imitate something they saw online, without thinking past the superficial. One obvious thing is that it’s become very easy to manipulate with video editing, and a blurry, indistinct video might easily portray something that didn’t actually happen.

    In an earlier phase of life, I worked around some fairly heavy, fairly fast, fairly powerful, and potentially dangerous equipment, and we were trained constantly about the things that could go wrong, including things yiu might never have even thought about as a possibility. An electric cable with 14,000 volts doesn’t look any different than one that is not energized. An enclosed space with inadequate oxygen doesn’t look any different than an enclosed space filled with fresh air. A sleek airliner that flies so gracefully, miles above the ground, is huge, heavy and cumbersome on the ground, not to mention that if the engines are throttled up, they can easily suck an adult right into a rapidly spinning fan.

    Whoever are actually doing this “subway surfing” are putting themselves at grave risk.

    1. Yes, you can see an incredible number of really dangerous and silly stunts on YouTube. People think they’re going to get to be famous. I wonder what they think when they wake up in the hospital.

    2. What frightens me is that some people might sustain life-changing injuries, or even be killed. I bet that those videos never see light of day. It’s not a new problem, before smartphones and YouTube, there were dangerous things recorded on bespoke video cameras, but the various “tube sites” and smartphones have just made it easier.

    3. Even if true, there are other factors, such as the possibility of exposes uninvolved people to unnecessary risk.

      Destroyed vehicles, etc, are also a real loss. In a time when everything is being measured in terms of “carbon footprint”, what sense does it make to destroy a useful object which now zeroes the benefit of any embedded materials, energy, etc. that went into making these objects, has now been wasted.

      A month or so back, Red Bull promoted a stunt, where two airplanes were put in a dive, the pilots jumped out, and would attempt to swap which airplane they were piloting. As I understand it, this violates Federal Aviation Regulations, because the Pilot in Command”, is responsible for the safe conduct of a flight. https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/91.3 The problem is, if the sole pilot of an operable aircraft jumps out, there is no pilot in command, and the FAA allegedly refused to grant a waiver of regulation for this stunt. The stunt went ahead as planned, except that one of the planes did not behave as expected (which I attribute to possible pilot error) and one of the planes ended up crashing. A beautiful, and quite valuable Cessna 182 ended up being destroyed.

      That’s not nothing. A new Cessna 182 costs about $500,000.00 and is a tool that can be used to transport people and products. Light aircraft are the lifeline of Alaska. Light aircraft, with proper care, can have a service life of many decades. I have a hard time believing that all that went into manufacturing such an aircraft is best spent on a stunt to promote a beverage. Yes, it was their plane, their right to do as they saw fit, but I find the level of responsibility for this to be unbecoming for a responsible business.

      If, in fact, this went through after the FAA denied permission, that’s hardly something I would associate with responsible business conduct. But, if it gets YouTube views, I guess that’s all that matters to some people.

    4. As you know, I have strong feeling when it comes to aviation. General Aviation (small airplanes) has damaged its own reputation badly, because of carelessness, persons whom do not take it seriously, and the worst of all, in my book, are people that use aircraft for publicity stunts.

      A while back, a fellow allegedly bailed out of his plane, claiming an engine failure, and conveniently enough there were at least two video cameras on the plane, one on his person, etc. and he made a dandy YouTube video about it. A beautiful little Taylorcraft was trashed and, once again, allegedly the wreckage was removed before the aviation authorities had an opportunity to investigate.

      A year or so before that, someone ditched a plane in a bay in California and calmly called for help from a mobile phone while his girlfriend took video footage. There were suspicions that it was staged, but I don’t know if there was ever a formal investigation.

      The point is, this is just one more facet of the video fascination which has placed people and property at unnecessary risk, just for the sake of getting views. I love YouTube, because it can do a lot of good, but what I see too often is the misuse of YouTube, for sensationalism. Be it aviation stunts, subway surfing, or some of the other things I’ve heard of, risky behavior shouldn’t be rewarded.

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