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Tag: safety tape

One weird corner case of biohazard stickers that might save you from getting the bubonic plague


“Warning” stickers / “caution” tape are occasionally placed on or around objects to indicate that they are dangerous.

The issue:

However: what if the tape itself is the source of danger? For example, if a roll of “BIOHAZARD” tape was accidentally dipped in a vat of bubonic plague, there would be no way to indicate that the roll of tape itself was dangerous. People would just naturally assume that the “BIOHAZARD” warnings on the tape were meant to be peeled off and stuck elsewhere, and then they would presumably handle the roll of tape, lick their fingers, and get the plague.


Fig 1: A roll of “biohazard” stickers. But what if the roll ITSELF is the biohazard? Whoa.


Instead of selling warning tape / stickers in completed form, they could be sold in separate rolls that would have to be combined to form the full “danger” message. One could imagine, for example, a “DANGER” sign that came in two parts (a “DAN” and a “GER,” neither of which is a warning by itself).


Fig 2: Half-biohazard tape, left side.


Fig 3: Half-biohazard tape, right side. Combine this with the roll in Figure 2 to form a proper biohazard sticker.


Every year, millions of people die after handling rolls of warning tape (possibly of unrelated causes). Perhaps this proposal will somehow help?

PROS: Could double profits from selling rolls of biohazard tape? If you own a tape-manufacturing company, you should lobby for this to be a new law.

CONS: May be less ecologically friendly due to potentially generating extra waste.

P.S. See also: a related idea for caution tape.

You won’t believe how easy it is to prevent people from going into a taped-off “danger” area with this one bizarre trick!


The issue:

The classic yellow-and-white “danger!” tape is visually apparent and can be quite useful for indicating that an area is hazardous or off-limits. However! There are two problems:

Fig 1: The classic “danger” tape. But you might not know it if you couldn’t read English!

First, the “danger” text is specific to one language.

Second, the colors of the tape are culturally specific; maybe in some far-off island, yellow-and-white tape is used to indicate “here is a delicious free chocolate rabbit for the annual chocolate festival.”


The proposal:

We can create a language- and culture-neutral design for the tape—something that will indicate “danger!” to all humans, without requiring explanation.

Specifically, the tape will be designed to have an infinitely extended row of deadly pointed teeth, which are a relatively universal sign to indicate that a possible hazard exists within. Additionally, the tape could have periodic sections of “angry eyebrows” and glaring eyes to really drive home the point. (Admittedly, despite the universality of human facial expressions, “cartoon angry eyebrows” are probably not a symbol that is understood across all human societies.)


Fig 2: The “monster teeth” danger tape. Note the blood-stained shark teeth and angry eyebrows.


Fig 3: Artist’s rendition of the muppet-like monster face whose presence is evoked by the design of the tape. May be insufficiently menacing in current form.

PROS: Would be especially useful in countries with many official languages, saving the trouble of translating the text into each language.

CONS: May be culturally insensitive to shark-toothed monsters.