doesn't get much more useless
Friday, February 27 2015
Ever since the wakeup call of trying to find a tiny MP3 player in the laboratory (which compelled me to shine a bright flashlight into its every nook and cranny, forcing me to see what should not be seen), I've been doing little things to roll back the entropy. The other day, I installed a little nine-drawer plastic shelf beneath the wooden shelf above the electric teapot in the laboratory's southwest corner, and I've used this to better organize my glue and batteries. The batteries had been completely unorganized, and the glue had been sprawling out of the too-small containers used to hold it. I also discovered that some of my "glue" had completely dried up since I'd last tried to use it. I don't like throwing things away unless those things are completely useless. It doesn't get much more useless than a dried-up bottles of glue.
This evening, I organized the mess that is my collection of devices that electronically switch 120 volt outlets. I have one such device that can be remote-controlled by a radio dongle (in the past I used to use it to remotely restart the DSL router back when we had a very unreliable Westell model). I found the 120 volt switch but not the radio dongle, and it seemed I should keep the two together or risk rendering them both separate and useless. After much searching (which was similar in its mania and thoroughness to the other day's MP3 player hunt), it dawned on me that at some point in the not-to-distant past, I'd organized and put away all the radio remotes, and this must have swept up the missing radio dongle. Sure enough, it had. I realized at that point that it might be best to keep the radio dongle separate from the thing it controlled just for organizational reasons. As long as I am aware that I have a collection of radio remotes and a collection of 120 volt electronic switches, it shouldn't be too hard to look in both places for the set of things I need when I need them.
I should mention that I also have a well-sorted collection of coins. One jar contains foreign coins, another nickels, another a mix of dimes and quarters, and then one jar each for old pennies (made mostly of copper) and new pennies (made mostly of zinc). The other day I had one penny that was too corroded to read, so I blasted it with my propane torch until it sagged like a rotten grape and then ruptured to produce a splat of silvery metal. Evidently it had been a new penny. I should probably use the torch on the two pennies I have from the year 1982, which could be either old or new. It would be like a more scientific version of throwing a witch into water to see if she sinks or floats. If it melts and ruptures, it's a new penny. If it glows bright orange and stays the same, it's an old penny. The reason I sort them this way is that both kinds are worth more for their metallic content than for their denominational value, and thus it doesn't destroy their value to me if I melt them. My main use of zinc pennies is for electroplating things. As for the copper pennies, I generally use them as plugs for copper pipes in non-plumbing applications.
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