Technology

Buried in Rubble for 66 Hours? There's an App for That.

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Seismometer app

Yesterday I was walking to the Woodley Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C., to have dinner with a friend. She had just moved into a new place, so I thought I'd pick up a housewarming present—of the 80 proof variety.

I had this thought as I began to walk across the Taft Bridge which spans the Rock Creek. So I pulled out my iPhone, checked the time to verify that I was indeed early, used the phone's GPS to pinpoint my location, searched the surrounding area on the map for the word "liquor," found Sherry's Wine and Liquor just on the other side of the bridge. Then I thought for a moment, decided it would be fun to bring all the fixings for Manhattans, used Google voice search to find a recipe for the drink, double checked the type of bitters, and put the phone away—all before I got to the far side of the bridge.

While the making of Manhattans did seem urgent to me at the time, the award for iPhone success story of the day goes to filmmaker Dan Woolley, who used his iPhone to stay alive while buried in the rubble of Haiti's earthquake for 66 hours.

Trapped in the ruins of his hotel with a fractured leg and head gash, Woolley said he looked up treatment of excessive bleeding and compound fracture on the $3.99 Jive Media Pocket First Aid and CPR.

"So I used my shirt to tie my leg and a sock on the back of my head. And later used it for other things, like to diagnose shock," said Woolley.

Woolley said he also used the iPhone's alarm to go off every 20 minutes to keep him from falling asleep.

Of course, once he got out, I'll bet he would have liked a Manhattan, too.

While I tend to come up short on feelings of awe and wonders in response to the natural world, every now and then I have moments where I find the things that individual humans have devised and built, well, awesome.