The Self-Deploying Flood Barrier That Could Keep Cities Dry Without Sandbags

MegaSecur, YouTube
MegaSecur, YouTube

For many places in the world, the future is going to be wet. Climate change is already intensifying heavy rains and flooding in parts of the U.S., and it’s only expected to get worse. A recent study estimated that by 2050, more than 60 million people in the U.S. would be vulnerable to 100-year floods.

Some cities plan to meet rising waters with protective parkland, while some architects are developing floating houses. And one company has figured out how to replace piles of sandbags as emergency flood control, as Business Insider reports. Water-Gate, a line of flood protection products made by a Canadian company called MegaSecur, is a self-deploying water barrier that can be used to stop overflowing water in its tracks.

The emergency dam is made of folded canvas that, when water rushes into it, inflates up to become a kind of pocket for the water to get trapped in. You can roll it out across a street, a canal, or a creek like a giant hose, then wait for the water to arrive. In the event of a flash flood, you can even deploy it while the flood is already in progress. It can stop waters that rise up to five feet.

According to MegaSecur, one Water-Gate dam can replace thousands of sandbags, and once the floodwaters have receded, you can fold it back up and use it again. Sadly, based on the flood projections of climate change scientists, heavy flooding will soon become more and more common, and that will make reusable flood barriers necessary, saving time and money that would otherwise be spent buying, stacking, and getting rid of sandbags. The auto-deployment also means that it can be used by a single person, rather than a team of laborers. It could just as easily be set up outside a house by a homeowner as it could be set up on a city street by an emergency worker.

As climate change-related proposals go, it sounds a little more feasible than a floating house.

[h/t Business Insider]

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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The Evolution of the Presidential State Car

FDR's Lincoln K Sunshine Special at the now-closed Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Michigan.
FDR's Lincoln K Sunshine Special at the now-closed Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Michigan.
Greg Gjerdingen, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

It wasn’t long after the 1920s automobile boom that the Secret Service started carting the president around in a souped-up vehicle of his own. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first to get an official presidential state car in 1939—a Lincoln K Sunshine Special, outfitted with a two-way radio and other bells and whistles—and the tradition has continued ever since. Though each state car is different from its predecessor, certain trends have emerged over the last 80 years.

They’ve almost all been Lincolns or Cadillacs, and colors have ranged from dark blue to black. Earlier presidents favored Lincolns; Harry Truman was chauffeured in an armored Lincoln Cosmopolitan, for example, and John F. Kennedy was riding in a convertible Lincoln Continental SS-100-X when he was assassinated in 1963. But after Ronald Reagan was given a Cadillac Fleetwood in the early 1980s, presidents began shifting away from Lincolns and toward Cadillacs (though George H.W. Bush did revert to using a Lincoln during his term from 1989 to 1993).

In fact, the only official presidential state cars that haven’t been Lincolns or Cadillacs actually aren’t cars at all—they’re buses. The Secret Service used to rent buses for the presidential motorcade, but they finally decided to manufacture their own during Barack Obama’s tenure. In 2011, they debuted Ground Force One, a 45-foot vehicular behemoth that reportedly houses oxygen tanks and even bags of spare blood in case of an emergency.

The bus may be the most formidable machine in the history of presidential vehicles, but the addition of special security features isn’t a new practice. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Secret Service realized the president was especially vulnerable while in transit, and agents added bulletproof tires, weapons compartments, and other safety elements to his Lincoln. A similar upgrade was made to the presidential state car after Kennedy’s assassination—this time, it was rigged with titanium armor-plated doors, reinforced glass windows, and a bulletproof roof.

Take a look at the evolution of POTUS’s wheels in the illustrations below, courtesy of UK-based vehicle leasing company Vanarama.

1. Lincoln K Sunshine Special // Franklin D. Roosevelt

The two-way radio was a big deal at the time.Vanarama

2. Lincoln Cosmopolitan // Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy

Truman got to choose his car after he was elected in 1948.Vanarama

3. Lincoln Continental SS-100-X // John F. Kennedy

Presidential cars got safer after Kennedy's assassination in 1963.Vanarama

4. Cadillac Fleetwood // Ronald Reagan

Reagan's boxy Cadillac set a new precedent.Vanarama

5. Cadillac DeVille // George W. Bush

Bush's high-tech Cadillac even had night vision capabilities.Vanarama

6. Ground Force One // Barack Obama

This massive bus is supposed to be prepared for any kind of emergency.Vanarama

7. Cadillac “The Beast” // Donald Trump

"The Beast" is POTUS's current vehicle of choice.Vanarama

[h/t Vanarama]