Sunday, October 09, 2005

Learning and Other Useless Activities

I spent the other day doing what most people would consider “nothing”.

I on the other hand, felt that I put in a hard days work. I spent 12 hours without moving more that 10 feet or so, didn’t fall over once, and stayed awake most of the time.

I won’t get into the details, but I assure you it was not an easy task. It took great concentration and above average balance.

But part of me still thinks I could have been a little more productive, so in an attempt to better myself and grow intellectually I have decided that I will learn something new each day.

I decided that I will limit my search to the field of science. I know that’s a broad field, but I wanted to make sure the information I take in is worthwhile. I could easily have given myself no restrictions.

Memorizing football stats would fill the “learn something new each day” requirement. So would finding out how many beers a man could drink without using the restroom, or maybe how many episodes of Law and Order you could watch in a single calendar day. But I’m better than that.

I take my commitments seriously.

But if I had to guess, taking into consideration such factors as SVU, Criminal Intent, and Regular, not to mention NBC, USA, and TNT, I would have to say no less that 62. Yep- 62 episodes sounds right.

But I digress. On with the education.

When I was a kid my dad had a book that I inherited. It’s called The Way Things Work- An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Technology (copyright 1967, Simon & Schuster). In the forward the publisher explains that this volume is designed to “answer the question posed by the inquisitive child who wants to know how the vacuum cleaner or a refrigerator works.” The book is by no means a children’s book. It is designed like a text book with a page of text describing the item or process, then drawings and schematics detailing the item.

Also in the forward the publisher states that this book was originally published in Germany in 1961 under the title Wie funktioniert das?”. I don’t speak German, but that sounds dirty.

Note to self- find German book store.

I digress again. Opening the book I think a random search, just seeing what catches my eye would be good.

On page 328 is the Juke Box. I like music- good place to start.

“Present day juke boxes almost invariably use 7-inch records played at 45 r.p.m. Magnetic tape recordings and other recording media have not "…hey wait a minute. 45’s?

I haven’t even seen a 45 in years. The book goes on to say how each juke box holds about 80 songs.. Heck, the one at Lucy’s has, like a million. Most ones I never heard of but a million of anything -even country music- is a lot.

I better find a new topic- page 440- Anaesthetic Apparatus- a machine used to put people to sleep before an operation. I found that reading these 4 paragraphs would do the trick.
No special machine needed.

I also learned that this book is so old that “Anaesthetic” isn’t spelled that way anymore- “Anaesthetic” is now “Anesthetic” or possibly “An aesthetic” or maybe even “Ana esthetic”.

Page 416- Intaglio Printing- read it 4 times, looked at the pictures twice- still don’t know what it does, is, or taste like.


Page 398- Detergents. Soap, how hard can that be? Oh, wait- the picture has a drawing of an oil well, a tub of paraffin, and shows sulphuric acid (which by the little red squiggly line on my screen I see is not spelled “sulphuric” any more). Now I’ve had some raunchy clothes in my day, but at no time did I ever need to use acid to clean them. Not when I can buy new ones anyway.

And what’s paraffin? It sounds like a flaky dessert. Something you might put Intaglio on.

Well, I have completed my task.

I have learned a few things today:

1- I do not like science

2- I may never use soap again

3- the English language changes way too much

I will now study the long term effects (affects?) of the Gravitational Force (page 212) felt between my butt and my couch while watching a Television, Colour page 166-169.

I thought it was “color”?


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