Monthly Archives: April 2009

Nobody fixes anything any more

This weekend my laminator broke. A mix of laminate and paper managed to wrap itself around the rollers and gummed up the whole mechanism.

I could have quite easily (and cheaply) bought a new one. But I didn’t. I took the old one apart and fixed it.


Not only did I save myself some money, I also learnt a little bit more about how a laminator works. So next time something breaks why not try fixing it before you buy a new one? What’s the worst that could happen? It’s broken anyway; you can only make it more broken.

This is what had jammed itself in the mechanism:



The All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE) rover is a next-generation robotic lunar exploration vehicle.


ATHLETE is designed to load and transport heavy loads across the rough lunar surface. Each rover can carry half a ton and multiple rovers can work together to transport heavier loads.


ATHLETE can roll and walk across the lunar surface and can even use a grappling hook to rappel down steep slopes.


There are some amazing videos of ATHLETE in action at its JPL homepage.

In The Event That You Have Accidentally Swallowed The Higgs Boson

From The Morning News:

1. Do not panic. Resist the urge to induce vomiting. If the Higgs boson gets stuck in your teeth, [it] could turn into pure light.

2. If space and time have inverted within your body, skip to step 10.

4. If you happen to ingest the Higgs boson in Europe, proceed to the CERN laboratory in Geneva. Don’t take the airport tram, take the special bus from Meyrin. Make sure you are carrying no metallic objects, as the Large Hadron Collider’s magnetic field is 100,000 times more powerful than the average planet’s. If you are not in Europe, proceed to your nearest hospital, preferably one with a particle physics ward.

6. If the Higgs boson begins creating mass in your esophagus or stomach before you reach a hospital, you will need to perform an immediate bosonectomy on yourself. Luckily, surgical knowledge is not necessary. Just choose from the array of probable outcomes that will manifest themselves upon your decision to perform surgery, and make the one most favourable to yourself into reality. Be sensible—do not wait for the outcome in which you successfully remove the boson and win the lottery and grow wings.

7. Do you feel protons decaying? Grand Unification may be occurring near your vital organs. However, this may be caused by far less elegant X bosons—the poor man’s Higgs, as it were. We shall not deal with these “country cousins” here. Still, you must not use electroweak force in this situation. You must at least attempt to curb the force of your nuclei to delay Grand Unification. You would be wise to begin a preventive training regimen for your nuclei right away—Fermion My Wayward Son (Bloomsbury, 1996) contains the internationally accepted techniques.

10. If you have skipped from step 2 to 10, and space and time have truly inverted, this step no longer has a coherent numerical value and has become a non-associative factor; in fact, this could be step 1,072 or step 30-17, or a step that only exists in a parallel universe. For any and all steps existing in a parallel universe, follow as directed and add beard.