EMS 2.0, Bernoulli, Fluid Dynamics, and Changing the World

Today the Boy was playing with one of the junk mail “newspapers” that we get involuntarily delivered to our home when I thought of a way to actually make it useful. I tore off a long, narrow piece of it and made him a Bernoulli strip to play with. For those of you who don’t know, a “Bernoulli Strip” is a long, narrow piece of paper that you hold just below your bottom lip and use your mouth to blow straight out. The strip then floats up and lays perpendicular from your mouth in response to the faster moving stream of air above the strip.

It works because of the “Bernoulli Principle” which was devised by the 18th century physician and physicist Daniel Bernoulli and published in his text, “Hydrodynamica”. It states that with velocity of an inviscid flow, as velocity increases, pressure decreases. So, the Bernoulli strip shows that as you blow outward and increase the velocity of the air above the strip, the static air below the strip of paper is of higher pressure and pushes the strip upward towards the faster, lower pressure airflow.

Bernoulli’s principle of fluid dynamics also made possible a method for physicians to measure the blood pressure of patients by sticking a glass tube directly into an artery and measuring how high the blood rose inside the tube. This method was the preferred method of measuring blood pressure for 170 years!

In this simple experiment, where he found out, basically that higher velocity fluid was of lower pressure than lower velocity or static fluid, he ended up changing the freaking world. Why? Because airplanes fly because of the Bernoulli principle. Wings, or “Airfoils” are shaped according to Bernoulli’s principle, with a longer humped surface area on the top and a straight edge on the bottom.

(Yes, there is the Radial Velocity theorem and the whole battle between Newtonian flight that is raging in the physics community. I’m not smart enough to get into it. They both seem plausible to me.)

So why, you ask, am I putting the above on THIS BLOG, where I usually write about kneeling in poo?

Think about this: Bernoulli published “Hydrodynamica” in 1738. Powered flight became possible by the Wright Brothers in 1903. Yes, a lot of others contributed… but the basic principle that made it all possible had been around for 165 years.

What if Daniel Bernoulli had had a blog?

I imagine that the post would have detailed the experiment that he conducted. His twitter feed would have said “Whoa! Check out the experiment I just did. I made a piece of paper float… It’s on my blog”. His readers and peers would have read it, commented on it, linked to it, and participated in the discussion. The wider community would have devoted a lot of brain power to it. My guess is that flight would have been made possible inside of 6 months.

Ok, maybe that’s a stretch… but you see what I mean. The community participation, shared brain power, the collective engagement of an interested wider audience: That’s the power of this medium. With each post by every blogger, we invite you to participate. We all think of comments as gold. I do. I love when I spark a conversation on my blog and I like participating in the ideas brought forth by my fellow bloggers and commenters. Each idea, like Bernoulli’s simple strip of paper, has the power to change the world.

EMS is an industry sorely neglected by the people actively practicing it. Our profession has been controlled by outside influences and groups for too long. There’s a lot of players trying to dictate the profession, and most of them have an interest in keeping our educational standards low and our pay dismal.

But that time is coming to an end. You have the power, right here in your keyboard, to change everything. I don’t want to sound pretentious or even naive, and maybe I am… but I look at the EMS blogosphere as the end of the status quo in EMS. The times they are a changing, and I have an important role to play in it just because I say that I do. You have just as much of a role as I do because you’re here reading this. Reading articles in a magazine transmits information to you, and that’s important. However, reading blogs transmits information to you and invites you to transmit information back to them. The next reader intakes both opinions, and calculates their own response. Bad ideas are found out, good ideas round out and float to the top of the collective consciousness. Everything can be analyzed, absorbed, participated in, and reworked rapidly. Ideas are shared immediately.

Change happens. A single EMS professional, or even a group of them, often feels powerless to make changes they feel are positive. EMS politics keep a great many good ideas and new ways of improving care down for various reasons. Most of those politics are swept under the rug and kept from the light of day. Just like in Chicago, corruption only exists in the dark. While I’m not calling day-to-day EMS politics “corruption” per se, shining the light of scrutiny on both of them tend to bring positive change.

Welcome to the EMS blogosphere. It is the single most powerful force for positive change in the profession I’ve ever seen. We are the future. The bloggers, the readers, and anyone whose ever punched “EMS” into a search engine are poised to usher in the change in the industry we’ve all been yearning for.

Here’s the call to action: Bring a friend. The more eyeballs we have reading the ideas put forth in the EMS blogosphere, the more participants we’ll have in the marketplace of ideas. Together, we’re strong and are growing stronger with every post, comment, and thought put forth about our profession. We’ll change everything… but we need you to do it.

“Bring a friend to the Blogoshere” I like the sound of that.

  • Michael Morse

    I brought all of my friends to the Blogosphere, (at least the ones that read my blog.)

    Hope you don't mind I linked this on RP.

  • Lumo

    An inspired (and inspiring) post CK.

  • Chrysalis Angel

    Great post. Michael brought me.

    It is great to virtually meet so many great bloggers, with common interests. I can't keep up with them all anymore, but I try.