At 57 pounds, the desk in question is light enough for two students to carry and move around the classroom. At $35 per student, it's affordable enough for many school districts to buy in bulk. And oh yes, tests have shown it can survive a crushing weight of 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) or moreThe picture shows a completely atypical situation. A single flat well-distributed weight has apparently fallen on the desk, and it holds up. I can't imagine any situation where a weight like that would come down neat and flat, hitting the right parts of the desk at the proper angles. It's usually smaller beams breaking at an angle and poking through everything below. This thing would instantly buckle and collapse under those conditions. Or look at pictures of Haiti's last earthquake. Many buildings were stupidly built with big solid slabs for floors and roofs, and fragile brick or block walls. The entire slab came down all at once, probably 10 or 20 tons. And what happens if the floor can't take the force exerted by the desk? The kid is still squashed, in an even more horrible way. Wasting money on this false solution is worse than doing nothing. If you offer no "protection", the kids will be motivated to GET THE FUCK OUT of a building. But if you're going to spend money, you should pick a MEANINGFUL solution. Where earthquakes are the main threat, you want one-story wooden buildings. They may be unusable after the quake, but they will stay vertical long enough to get out. Or if you want cheap protection against EVERY threat except floods, use Quonset huts. Protecting against floods costs nothing. Don't build in flood plains.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.