I'm glad I'm not in a mine in Chile

33 miners trapped in a Chilean copper mine are suddenly, against their wishes, part of an experiment that in my opinion is more realistic than the voluntary enclosure of six men in Mission Mars, a simulated flight to Mars and back.

The difference is that if there's a true emergency, the men in a simulated Mars flight can be evacuated instantly. But with the guys in San José mine in Copiapó, there's no such luxury. If something goes wrong, there's no way out. I really wish they do get out.

The Mission Mars is like Big Brother on steroids, but without sex. Copiapó is real reality, not just a scripted show.

There's one thing I need to say about safety in mines in Chile: there are already accusations of breaking safety standards in this mine (and, hence, plans for lawsuit) but I'm pleasantly surprised by the fact that they have such high standards that shelters have been built in the mines. In most other countries (at least outside Europe and North America), a mine accident like this would have produced just 33 fatalities. Here, the miners have a room where they can wait in relative safety and comfort. We don't exactly know, but behind the collapsed tunnel and the shelter, they might even have a kilometer or two of tunnel where to move about, walk and exercise. OK, if they really have to wait until Christmas, that is a very long time. I wish the PR people of the mine company have just taken a careful stance so that if the rescue comes quicker, everyone will be pleased, and if it really takes four months, people will not be too disappointed. I, for one, will be pretty glad if the men come up alive and physically well at all.

Although the situation of the men is difficult, and such that for most of us it would be psychologically unbearable, there is one good thing for them. I don't think they will ever need to go down a mine shaft again. They'll make their living by selling autobiographies and getting royalties from movie scripts.

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