The almost empty glass of the Spectacular Age

Thought bubbleThe question of the day is “is the glass almost empty or is it almost full?”

The lens that identified a glass as half empty or half full hardly seems relevant. Such subtle semantic differences don’t matter in the Spectacular Age we are in.

I noticed a bumper sticker today. “Refugees Welcome” with the outline of Indiana. I suggested to a friend that it was really a good message. My friend was concerned that we’re running out and can’t afford such people.

It made me think about how much American perceptions are disassociated.

One can look at the glass and see that it is almost full. We have enough creativity, dedication, courage and hope to solve the problems facing the world.

Or, one can see an almost empty glass. The government is too expensive, the cost of doing business is excessive, society is about to collapse and only radical action can help.

I don’t know how to find a way to pour from my almost full glass to help relieve the thirst of the almost empty glasses. Do you?

Hot Glass

First Rule of Laboratory Work
One of the lessons from my chemistry classes in high school was that “hot glass looks like cold glass.” This was a lesson like “don’t touch the stove or you will get burned.” I never felt a need to verify this.

However, hot solder looks like cold solder. I was working to test my “ARC Generator.” I have a bench power supply. I was trying to protect the LEDs in the ARC generator from accidental shorts as I probed them by limiting the current & voltage on the power supply to a safe level.

I was getting pretty frustrated. Nothing was happening. I even tried powering up my little 5V regulator on a proto board and nothing happened there either. I decided to test the test equipment and I found that the red power lead was open. Then it became really obvious because the connector fell off onto the floor–cold solder joint.

I pulled out my soldering iron and solder and tried fixing the cable. The first try was a failure because when I picked the (supposedly) repaired wire, the tip fell off again. This is where the hot metal looks like cold metal applies: I tried to tap the loose part on the floor to gauge if it was cool enough. Well, it wasn’t. I picked it up and burned my fingers and tossed the piece of metal across the room.

I was more cautious on the second try and I think I’ve got the connection solid.

So, testing the testing equipment was a win. Picking up a piece of metal that was just soldered was a fail.

…and I still don’t know if the LEDs in the ARC generator (á la Iron Man) are wired correctly, but I can check that tomorrow.

Original image: ~toxin refinery Rule No. 1. By Leigh Anthony DEHANEY [Image license: CC 2.0 BY-NC]