No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118


First of all, I was thrown by the CNN headline that read "Dead whales follow NATO exercises". Man, I thought sharks were bad, but zombie whales?

Zombie whales are kind of scary, so to cheer you up, I offer this quaintly-but-crudely illustrated story of administering an enema to a cat.

Finally, Toren asked for stories of my Dad. I dunno. He's just this guy, you know.
I remember once when I was little, some friends and relatives were all playing touch football. I was small, and got picked nearly last, which wasn't a problem, but I got picked by the team that was clearly gonna lose. I guess I must have been stinky about it, because I remember Dad giving me a long lesson about winning and losing and being a good sport and playing the game. Then a few minutes later he slid on the grass through some dogshit, which gave me a certain amount of secret satisfaction.
I think Dad had an influence in my decision to be a theoretical scientist rather than an applied one. Roughly the same time as the earlier incident, I had a model goodyear blimp that ran on batteries (there was a light inside and a rotating message would appear on the blimp's side) but the battery had run down or something. I found that the voltage on the battery was the same as the voltage on the power supply for the scientific calculator Dad handed down to me.
Let me engage in a little excursus. It may be hard to imagine what a 1975-vintage scientific calculator looked like. It had a red LED display and not much beyond trig functions and exp/log, which fascinated me endlessly since I had no idea what they meant or how the input mapped onto the output. It had an internal rechargeable battery and a plug-in AC power supply you could plug into the wall to recharge it.
Anyway, I experimented with the power supply and the wires in the blimp and got it all to work together. Better yet, the new blimp power supply made the blimp turn faster! I was so proud of my accomplishment that I rushed to tell my parents.
If this had happened today, perhaps my parents would have been delighted that I had hacked a blimp (even if it was rather kludgy). However, in the 1970's this combination of small child, tinkering and electrical sockets was met with some serious spanking. Wow, I guess this was really a story about me.
Anyway, Dad also took the AC supply from the calculator away. Which means that the charge in the calculator slowly died, and the LED numbers grew fainter and fainter, and calculations took longer and longer, until that last red glimmer faded away to nothing.
Negative reinforcement is powerful stuff, so I gave up on anything practical while simultaneously getting much better at doing math in my head.
I seem to have focused on somewhat unpleasant incidents, and I confess that numerous others spring to my mind. But there were plenty of more pleasant ones. They're just not very interesting. He took me to see Time Bandits. That should count for something.
Tags: bio, funny, science

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