July & August, 2000

Due to an underwhelming avalanche of reader requests (2 emails for, 3 against) we at BinkyWare are pleased to present our latest installment of the Internet Quicksand Report. The BinkyWare Internet Quicksand Report #2 is brought to you by:

Aunt Mamie's Possum Pot Pies:
"You'd better heat up them pies."

--- AND ---

BinkyWare OfficePro2000GiveOrTakeAYear:
"Software that knows WHAT YOU WANT TO DO, before you're EVEN READY to do it!"

HOW TO USE THIS REPORT: Our comments on the site come first, followed by the URL (if we didn't suffer brain fade and forget it completely) and then some text of interest from the site itself. Again, we at BinkyWare would just like to assure everyone concerned that absolutely no hedgehogs were harmed in the compilation of this report. So, without further ado (whatever "ado" means):


What do they mean by "acts as a 'trap' for birds?" Hell, it acts as a trap for busloads of birdwatchers! Sheesh... There's even a map of the area here, but they don't point out exactly *where* the quicksand and nasty spots are. Apparently, one of the joys of birdwatching is discovering exactly where for yourself.

"Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore--A Great Place to Watch Birds! Worcester County, Maryland Delaware Wildlands Conservation Area Swamp Road and Blueberry Road provide an opportunity to look for unusual Warblers in the spring. Swainson's Warbler has bred sporadically in this area during the last 10 years. The swamp itself, which is impenetrable and dangerous due to quicksand, supports all bottomland birds and acts as a "trap" for birds migrating north in spring."


This fellow has a web site detailing many of his dreams. This one concerns quicksand, along with *lots* of other themes. We're not going to suggest that he has wierd dreams, only that he ought to stop watching so many Fellini movies. Check out the illustrations accompanying this one. Tres wierd, mes amis (we think that's French)!

"My father, however, seemed not to realize the danger and proceeded right through the middle of the field. In a matter of seconds we passed onto a pool of muddy brown quicksand and began sinking. The car turned upright so the rear sank first into the brown slime. The windows were all rolled up and I could see the brown mud all around us. I tried to keep from panicking, but I was terribly frightened. I could just imagine drowning in the oozing muck."


In our ongoing quest to bring YOU the absolute latest in pictures of LARGE VEHICLES and QUICKSAND, we've SCOURED THE EARTH to find this photo of a six-wheeled tourbus/thingamabob driving away from a BOTTOMLESS, QUAKING BOG OF AUSTRALIAN TERROR! Right in the MIDDLE of the STINKIN' DESERT!!! G'day, Mate! . . . . . .

"The Tire tracks caused by Quicksand"


For those of you who slept through Geography 101, Tunisia is a country in North Africa. It's primary export products are camels and styrofoam. No, wait! We're not sure about that last part... Anyway, Tunisia *does* have camels AND quicksand, at least according to this web page. We're already on the phone with our travel agent...

"Tunisia is a beautiful country, we said. The view of the Mediterranean sea from the ruins at Carthage had been worth the trip itself. But there are also the Medina in Tunis, the salt flats of Chott el-Jerid and the Sahara Desert at sunset. We told him about how one day while driving to the mountains on the Algerian border, we had seen Berber tribesmen rescue a camel stuck neck-deep in quicksand."


We'd never heard that quicksand was a "non-Newtonian fluid," and frankly, we refuse to believe this until we hear it from Ol' Sir Isaac his own self! Cruise here to find out just what exactly these non-Newtonian fluids are, how late they're open, and how far they are from mid-town. Also, check out the recipes for "Elmer's Slime" and "Electro- Active Corn Starch Slime" (?!)

"Welcome to the fascinating world of non-Newtonian fluids! These slimes, oozes, globs and the rest all have a high viscosity, which means that they have a resistance to flow dependent on the velocity of flow and a proportionate resistance to shearing forces. If something acts on them with a small amount of force (if you stir them slowly, or let you fingers slowly sink into them) they won't offer as much resistance as they would if a greater force acted on them. If you punch a good stout ooze, it should resist about as much as a brick wall. They fight back. Non-Newtonian fluids are so called because they do not fit into one or another of Newton's laws of how true liquids behave (specifically, in how they react to shearing forces). Quicksand, many pastes and glues, gelatin, and ketchup are all Non-Newtonian fluids."


First time you hit this page, it's a mystery wrapped inside a conundrum: nice big photo of what appears to be an actual quicksand pit, but it's obviously INSIDE A BUILDING! The photo has the headline "Close-Up Creatures©" over it, and a quick backtrack to the site's home page reveals that Close-Up Creatures will contract with your biz to provide an elaborately produced theme for that next Corporate Sales palm-slapper. We can just imagine what a company event with the Quicksand Pit theme would be like: "...and now, we'd like you to give a big hand to our Vice President of Marketing, Jack Smith... Jack? Jack, are you in the room? Anybody see Jack? I see his hat over there..."

Close-Up Creatures, Inc. Providers of once in a lifetime corporate theme parties.


OK, we admit it--we just LOVE Canada. Any place that has 6.2 beer, quicksand, dinosaur bones and Jacques Villaneuve is just entirely too cool with us! We're already on the phone again with our travel agent...

"Dinosaur Provincial Park by Peter Trueman Dinosaur Provincial Park, near Brooks, Alberta, is one of the wonders of the paleontological world. There is a dinosaur "bone" almost everywhere you look. Seventy-five percent of the park is restricted, not just to preserve the vast fossil beds, but for the protection of unwary visitors. The Alberta Badlands, where the park is located, is very rough terrain, described by early French explorers as "les mauvaises terres a traverser" meaning "bad lands hard to cross." Even in the 20th century, the place is dangerous, particularly when it rains and Bentonita clay becomes so greasy the hiker can't get a foothold. Deep sinkholes and quicksand make it no place for the novice."


Remember how much we carried on about those little "Earth and Sky" radio tidbits in our last report? Well, slap us silly, we found the MOTHER LODE! Of course, text just doesn't do justice to that sexy Deborah Byrd's husky, come-hither voice (in a strictly scientific context, mind you). Oddly, when we search the Earth and Sky website, this is listed as the only episode concerning quicksand, although the other E&S transcript in the first report is different. As they said in that old sci-fi movie from the 50's: "Some things mankind was NOT MEANT to know..."


"If you ever find yourself stuck in quicksand, try not to panic -- you can probably roll or swim to solid ground. Sunday, August 15, 1999 DB: This is Earth and Sky with a listener's question, "How does quicksand pull people down . . . (and) what should you do if you fall into quicksand?" JB: The fact is that most people can float on quicksand. It actually holds you up better than water. If you ever find yourself stuck in quicksand, try not to panic. Try gently falling backward spread-eagled. You may eventually have to roll or swim -- very slowly -- to solid ground. On the other hand, anything that won't float in water isn't likely to float in quicksand either. About a century ago, an entire train in the Kansas Pacific Railroad line plunged into quicksand. Workers later pulled out most of the cars, but they never did find the engine (EDITOR'S NOTE: Wrong! Wrong! They DID find the engine! See BIQR #1!). DB: People used to think that quicksand was a certain kind of sand -- that the grains had to be round and smooth like little ball bearings. But grains of quicksand can be big or little, rough or smooth. You can even have quicksand made of gravel. You find quicksand in places where there's water flowing underneath sand. The water pushes up with just the right pressure to equal, or slightly more than equal, the sand's weight. Then each sand grain has a cushion of water around it -- and that's quicksand. JB: That's our show for today. Ask your Earth or sky question with an email to [email protected] -- or drop by our web site at

"With thanks to the National Science Foundation, I'm Joel Block with Deborah Byrd for Earth and Sky."


We're frankly AMAZED at how many web pages out there attempt to answer the question "is quicksand REAL?" Like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and Uri Geller's psychic spoon-bending abilities, we had always assumed quicksand was a fact. But apparently, this is in doubt. Those of you who are fortunate enough to live in a metropolitan area that has an "alternative" tabloid or newspaper may recognize this bit from Cecil Adams' "The Straight Dope" syndicated column. And YES, there really IS such a place as Normal, Illinois. We've been there. Trust us.

"Is there really such a thing as quicksand?"

"Dear Cecil: Is there really such a thing as quicksand or is it just a make-believe sand trap found in Tarzan movies? If it does exist, where is it usually found, can it actually pull you down and under, and how can a person escape from it?
--Barbara R., Normal, Illinois"

"Dear Barbara: It's real, all right. 'Quicksand' is the name given to a mass of sand particles that are supported by circulating water rather than by each other. It can be found wherever sand and water can be found-- especially near streams, beaches, and the mouths of rivers. Contrary to popular belief, quicksand cannot suck you down and under. Its density is greater than the density of most things, including human bodies; in other words, you can float in it. If you struggle, though, you'll only succeed in digging yourself deeper in. If one of your excursions around Normal is interrupted by quicksand, keep yourself still until you stop sinking (you will). Use slow swimming motions to get yourself into a horizontal position and then roll yourself to terra firma. --CECIL ADAMS"


Those French are just SO DAMN ELEGANT...even the French word for quicksand sounds like something you'd see at a Parisian fashion show. This web page makes it appear that their quicksand is tres elegant, and abundant, too! We get this mental image of people talking like Maurice Chevalier, sipping a fine Bordeaux and posturing sexily while going down in the slop. We think we remember Danger Girl visiting here, and imagine she was putting on airs just like the rest of 'em, fur coat and all. It just makes you wanna do something sexy and French, like menage-a-trois, whatever the heck that is (should we bring truffles?)...

"La Baie des Veys"

"When approaching this limestone region of grandiose plantation manors from Bayeux and the Bessin, the traveler must cross the Veys bay to avoid a long detour to the west. The bay has four large influents: the Douvre, the Taute, the Vire and the Aure. Never try to imitate the conquering Romans and cross the mud flats, crevasses and quicksand beds without an experienced guide. Early in the 18th century, travel through the Cotentin bottleneck was still as forbidding. It was not until 1712 that the first bridge was built across the Taute and the last bridge, across the Vire, was started in 1812. In the interim, land reclamation work was started and dikes were built, swamps drained, and land wrested from the sea. This belated land improvement work continued until 1975. Over 3,000 ha have now been reclaimed for agricultural uses. Surrounded by vast beaches and mud flats, abundantly stocked with for wild birds, the bay is now a favorite stopover for migratory birds. Thousands of ducks and small stilt-birds pass through or settle down for the winter."


As nearly as we can tell, southern Utah is not anywhere near France, which explains why nobody is sipping a fine Bordeaux in this piece. Apparently, those beautiful canyonlands in the American Southwest are just lousy with quicksand, as often as we come across stories more or less just like this one on the Web. Philosophically, we always felt that if you're gonna get stuck, get stuck somewhere with nice scenery, and southern Utah fills the bill, Bubba. Oh, by the way, we're going to avoid the obvious temptation to leap at the phrase "but strides on, buttocks bouncing" and keep this commentary from degenerating into the sort of tasteless filth that we charge you to see elsewhere.

"Quicksand? Don't Sink, Just 'Dance' Across It"

"My husband lays shirt, shorts and boots on the rock. Pink as the sandstone around us, he walks toward the pool of water that blocks our way up this narrow canyon in southern Utah. The pool is about the size of a big living room, maybe 30 by 20 feet. Jon will check its depth. If the water comes no higher than his chest-- and my chin--we'll lift our packs over our heads and wade across. Any deeper and we'll turn around and try to find another route. We're Easterners. We're familiar with fog and ice. Maine blackflies. Tree roots that twist ankles. Although we love these desert canyons, we know their perils mostly from books. Jon steps into the chilly water. He yelps like a puppy, but strides on, buttocks bouncing. Soon, he's thigh-deep. 'Easy wading!' he calls. His words end in a squawk. Jon's arms fling up, elbows stiff, fingers splayed. I hear the dread word: 'Quicksand!'"


No text on this web page to speak of, just a neat-o commercial photographer's pic of a guy up to his neck in studio quicksand talking on a cell phone. We don't know if this is intended as an ad for Sprint, or what. Sure looks like a bad day at the office to us, however.


Nice little web page here with some facts and myths about our favorite non-Newtonion fluid (notice how quickly we absorb new terminology into our vocabulary). BONUS!!! Absolutely ADORABLE little cartoon concerning quicksand by one "Debra Solomon." And YOU thought that Mick did his OWN research for the "Quicksand Facts" and "Quicksand Myths" portion of "The Quicksand Page" web site... Another CHERISHED FOLK BELIEF blown to hell.

"'What causes quicksand, and where is it found?' asks Edward McClarty, of San Francisco. Unless you're on Gilligan's Island, roiling pits of dangerous quicksand aren't found around every bend in the trail. There are a lot of myths about quicksand, among them: Quicksand sucks you down like a vacuum cleaner. In fact, quicksand doesn't pull you down any more than a swimming pool does. Quicksand is more buoyant than water, so it's actually easier to float in quicksand than in a swimming pool."


Can't say we've ever come across the word "calve" to describe what ice does. We know Greenland is a wonderful, exotic place to visit, but Woody Allen or Mel Brooks would have a field day playing off the text description here: "On your way back, take the lower car track which passes American aircraft wrecks." Yeah, sounds like a GREAT SPOT for a picnic..."Honey, what say we load up the ol' backpack with food and go sit for awhile on that blackened, silica-fused flat place where the airplanes crashed? Whaddya say?" Every travelogue web site we've come across for either Iceland or Greenland mentions this quicksand produced from the meltwater of glaciers, leading us to one conclusion: Glaciers are evil things to be avoided. Either they produce iceburgs that go ramming into your luxury cruise ship, or they produce meltwater quicksand and scatter tempting aircraft accident sites nearby to lure unsuspecting hikers to their dooms...

"Hiking and biking in Kangerlussuaq"

"There are many excellent alternatives for hiking and bicycle trips, as there are several kilometres of road, tarmacked and gravelled... ...Remember to observe the safety signs, as the inland ice can calve at any time! And whatever you do, don't walk on the wet, sandy surfaces as these may be quicksand. Don't try to cross the stream, either, because of quicksand and the strong current. On your way back, take the lower car track which passes American aircraft wrecks. People who are fit will manage the walk to the inland ice and back in about 8 hours, not counting a short stop at the ice. Apart from activities under your own steam, there are many attractive tours organized by Kangerlussuaq Tourism. See the "Programme for the Week" at Kangerlussuaq Tourism's Information Desk in the airport building."

OK, we've calculated that this is about as much as you can handle at one sitting.

Dr. Yen
Director, Product Development
BinkyWare Marginal Industries
"BinkyWare--Now in the NEW Ultra-Light Titanium Boxes!"

Next Up: The BinkyWare Internet Quicksand Report #3!