b3ta.com user K2k6
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Scientist, musician, regular sort of bloke who's now reached the phenomenally young age of 40 (and then a bit). You probably don't want to know any more, but feel free to ask. Always willing to be gazzed. I talk lots of nonsense online. And in person.

Thanks to Maladicta for this:

And now that I'm an old bugger...

Unexpected minge

I was doing some scanning electron microscopy of synthetic fibres recently, and discovered to my amusement that when I zoomed out and examined the fabric at low magnification, it looked a bit like a close up of a 1970s fanny.....

(Now with scale bar to keep Rakky et al happy)

Crap joke, remembered from school geography class, ca 1985:

Which is the odd one out?

A - a crab
B - a lobster
C - a salmon
D - a Cambodian run over by a steamroller

Answer - C. The rest are all crustaceans. (Read it out loud!)

Another daft joke:

Stevie Wonder is playing a gig in Tokyo to a capacity crowd.

At the end of the gig, he asks if there are any requests.

A little old Japanese man stands up and shouts, "Play a jazz chord! Play a jazz chord!"

So Stevie improvises around a D minor 13th with flattened 9th for five minutes.

But the man isn't happy. He stands up and shouts, "No, no, play a jazz chord, play a jazz chord".

So Stevie gets the band started with an amazing improvisation around a B flat minor 9th chord and the crowd goes wild.

The man still isn't happy.

"No, no. Play a jazz chord, play a jazz chord".

Stevie is getting pissed off, and says to the man, "Look, smart arse - I've been playing solos round jazz chords for the last 10 minutes. If you're so clever, get up on stage and do it yourself".

So the man climbs onto the stage, grabs the mic and starts to sing...

"A jazz chord to say I ruv you...!

Porsche Porn

The 911 Turbo from the Porsche Porn story, which can be found by clicking here.

Recent front page messages:


Best answers to questions:

» Desperate Times

Scientific improvisation at its best (worst?)
I was reminded of this by the earlier post regarding checking the polarity of a power supply.

Working as I do in academic research, I get to play with lots of nice toys. The kit is usually bought from research grants, but in the last few years my funding situation has been, shall we say, less than generous. This has meant that while my salary has been paid and we've had a bit of cash for consumables and travel, the equipment capex budget has been essentially zero. I'm sure this will be a familiar tale to anyone involved in science these days.

So when I urgently needed a high voltage power supply, I was stuck, as they're quite expensive and we didn't have one. OK, brain in gear - I'm desperate here. What do I need to make one?

Source of ac signal - yup, we've got a function generator.
Amplifier - no, but I ordered up a couple of power FETs (big transistors) from RS for a few quid, rummaged around the lab for the other components, and built my own.
DC supply for amplifier - OK, we've got power supplies in the lab.
Step-up transformer - scrounged old Fiat ignition coil from a workmate who does a bit of car work on the side.
HT cable - got from car accessory shop for minimal sum.

So half an hour's work and I had myself a high voltage AC supply. This thing was great. Dr Frankenstein would have been spluffing his pants just watching it in operation. It even glowed a nice shade of purple in the dark. I was especially pleased with the fact that it broke so many rules and regulations:

1 - I had no high voltage warning signs. I used to just yell to people who came in the lab to keep clear.
2 - Large quantities of ozone were generated, for which I had no extraction rigged up.
3 - I had no current limiting. Normally high voltage supplies are required to have current limiting resistors built in to prevent too much current being drawn in the case of a short to earth, mainly through the human body. I didn't bother, so this thing was totally lethal.
4 - No shielding of high tension wires. I had bare wires hanging out the end connected to my experiment. I measured the voltage at 80,000V!
5 - As for electromagnetic radiation emissions, let's just say it wouldn't have been awarded a CE mark. Didn't hear of Radio Tay going off air, but it must have been a close thing!

It also emitted a pleasing high pitched whine (it resonated at 8-9kHz) and crackled and sparked a bit from time to time.

If get the chance, I'll look it out when I get in to work tomorrow and try to get a picture of the purple glow!

EDIT: Pictures now included. Check replies.
(Sun 18th Nov 2007, 13:18, More)

» Stalked

Not quite on topic, but as Che says, it's nearly Thursday....

I had a call a couple of weeks ago from a bloke called Gordon, who said he represented the local self-help association for sufferers of paranoia. They were holding a function to raise money for the association and wanted a band to play at it, hence the call to me. I said I'd check with the boys in the band and asked him to call back in a day or two.

A couple of days later, the drummer happened to be round at my house, and I was telling him about the gig, when the phone went. I answered it.

"Hello, this is Gordon from the paranoia association", said the caller.

"Oh, hi Gordon", I replied, "We were just talking about you."

He put the phone down.
(Wed 6th Feb 2008, 15:13, More)

» Common

Compared to when I was a student,
nowadays I'm a bit snobbish. I was pretty rough back then.

My mates and I would go out drinking, and then have farting competitions. Marks were awarded for duration, resonance of tone and of course pungency.

We also had burping competitions, which ran on standardised fuel, this being one fish supper and one can of Irn Bru. Marks were awarded similarly.

One day, we decided on a little experiment. We'd trap our farts in empty jam jars, screw the lids on then open and then sniff them next morning. This is a particularly vile thing to do, as the odour is inhaled when one is fragile from the night before, and makes one feel a tad unwell.

Anyway, the games progressed, and we then discovered absinthe. Not the cheap nasty stuff you usually find, but the proper syrupy green fluid with loads of wormwood. We did the usual setting fire to it and so on, but soon discovered that a few hours after drinking it, it tainted our flatulence with a characteristic odour. So out came the jam jars....

Next morning, we came to open the jars to do the usual check, and to our collective amazement, in each jar was a tiny model motorcycle. A perfect replica of the full size Honda NTV650 in every way. We wondered who had accessed the jars during the night, and why they would do such a bizarre thing, so we asked around during the day, but no-one would admit to it.

On returning to our flat that evening, we noticed that the models had increased in size during the day. And that is the point at which we discovered....

Absinthe makes the fart grow Honda.

(Fri 17th Oct 2008, 8:33, More)

» The nicest thing someone's ever done for me

This is pretty harrowing
As some of you may know, I play in a traditional band at weddings and ceilidhs etc. Well, a few years back, there was a bit of a lull in the trad scene and I decided to diversify a bit by forming a contemporary singing group. So I got together a bunch of people - my girlfriend of the time, Lisa (one of the fairly sparse times that I was actualy seeing someone regularly!), my old mate Willie, and a girl called Michelle whom we drafted in.

We had a few practices and got together a decent repertoire of standards and chart stuff, albeit we were only singing to backing tapes. We called ourselves Zest, with the hope that the snappy name would get us lots of gigs. It didn't.

Meanwhile, in my day job, I'd been supervising a project student, a Singaporean lad called Nicholas Ang Wan. Singaporeans must be the politest people on this planet. I know as I have had a few students from there over the years. Anyway, Nicholas had invited me and Lisa for a night out with him and his wife, which he was paying for, by way of thanks for my help throughout the previous academic year.

I'll never forget the date. It was Friday 18th May.

Which coincidentally was the date which we got our first gig booking for Zest. With 6 days notice. I was in a quandary - should I take the gig, as it was our only one, or turn it down as Nicholas had asked us out? After a lot of thought, I took the gig and informed Nicholas that I was sorry but we couldn't make dinner. Maybe another time?

He was annoyed, but didn't show it and was very gracious and polite about the situation - even still calling me "sir" as he always did!

So we did the gig.

That night, Nicholas and his wife had made alternative plans. They were going to visit friends in Kirkcaldy, which meant a drive from Dundee down the A92, which is primarily single carriageway despite the volume of traffic it carries. Half way there, they were going round a bend; Nicholas was going a bit fast, and understeered on the wet road, into the path of an oncoming motorcyclist who was speeding towards them on a powerful Yamaha.

The resulting collision sent the biker through the windscreen of the car, colliding partly with Nicholas's wife, but also causing the biker's abdomen to contact the leading edge of the car roof. The entire lower half of his body was torn off, and was found in a lay by 50m away. Mercifully he died instantly at the scene.

Nicholas escaped with only minor injuries but his wife was seriously hurt and ended up in intensive care, and eventually was in hospital for 3 months.

But it gets worse. It turns out that by a cruel twist of fate, I knew the biker. He was an old friend of mine from school, Daniel McKimmie. I hadn't seen him much since then, but we kept up with the odd phone call and e-mail.

As you can imagine, I was inconsolable. I blamed myself for my selfishness in taking on the gig. So much so that Lisa and I left the band, and subsequently split up. The group never did another gig as Zest.

Had I not taken the gig, I reasoned, my old mate would still be alive and Nicholas's wife would not be in hospital.

But Nicholas was amazing. He would come into work regularly, and insist that it was a tragic accident and that it was no fault of mine, while all the time his wife was critically ill in hospital. He even went with me to Daniel's funeral. (Incidentally, he was cleared of any blame for the accident). Eventually, as she recovered, I began to improve too. All thanks to Nicholas and his selfless beneficence.

Which is why I'll never forget the single night Zest sung - N. A. Wan severed Dan.

Ha - beat that, Pooflake, ya bastard!


(Wed 8th Oct 2008, 6:25, More)

» Mobile phone disasters

My mate Nick
leaned over while standing up, and his mobile fell out of his pocket, straight into his cup of tea which was sitting on the table.

Quick as a flash, another mate Davie piped up, "I didn't know you were with T-Mobile, Nick!"
(Thu 30th Jul 2009, 12:27, More)
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