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Mon, Apr. 7th, 2008, 09:56 pm
Do not exceed 0.8 Basils.

I break stuff because I assume that when something doesn't work that I'm not using enough force. Then I interact with it more forcefully until it doesn't work for anyone. Like the time I broke an exhibit at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.

Printed on top of the exhibit are the words "How Strong Is A Vacuum?" The exhibit was a four-foot high wood box with a metal handle on a cylinder. The handle weighed one pound, then you turned on the vacuum power under the cylinder. The sign said "Press the vacuum button and pull with all your might!" Okay.

I turned on the vacuum. I bent my knees and straightened my back and grabbed the handle with both hands. My friend mcoletti yelled "Stop!" But it sounded like he was calling to me from really far away. Then I heard the unmistakable sound of the threads of a metal bolt tearing through plywood.

It lifted off the ground, so I stopped pulling. But it didn't lift straight, just up at one corner. When I let go the exhibit stayed up on the one threaded bolt at an obviously improper angle.

I caught myself patting the broken exhibit like it was a bird whose neck I had broken and I was trying to position it into a lifelike shape before leaving.

Then my friends decided that I had learned enough science for the day.

But I did learn how strong a vacuum is. 0.8 Basils.

I am now a reference standard.

Tue, Apr. 8th, 2008 01:22 pm (UTC)

A good application of Feld's First Law: "When brute force is sufficient, brute force is sufficient."