Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Things that are safe

This is a picture of my favorite piece of lab equipment. It's a TROPIC-AIRE space heater that sits next to my desk. It's easily the most powerful space heater I've ever come across, and I initially wondered how it got hot so quickly. Then I realized that it's actually a piece of 1950s experimental technology to test alternative heating sources. Instead of using electricity to heat wires or fluid as in most modern space heaters, THIS baby opens a portal to Hell, letting the heat flow through to wherever you've placed the heater. Obviously there are a few drawbacks, which is why the phrases, "Demon alert!" and "CLOSE THE PORTAL!" are commonly used in my office.

Actually the demonic element isn't as much of an issue as the space heater itself. It's definitely one of those objects that some might call "well-loved". It's missing the control knob, for example, but in all honesty that's not that big of a deal anyway because even when it was attached it spun all the way around without affecting the temperature.

This baby is turned to MAXIMUM HEAT all the time! ...And I mean all of the time quite literally. There is no off switch. This is convenient for those of us who don't appreciate lengthy preparation times to set up equiptment. Just plug it in and watch it go! You'll only get shocked about half the time (since the wire doesn't have a grounding prong).
The lack of a grounding isn't that big of a deal because I have it plugged into a power surge protector that I found on the Free Table in the hallway. I can't believe that someone was going to throw this priceless antique away.

Although come to think of it, it makes sense that surge protectors don't work with this model of space heater, since it's not generating its own heat. The real problem is that the heat of hell is SO hot that sometimes it carries down the wire and causes that to heat up as well. But for your heavier plastics this doesn't become a problem for upwards of 15 minutes.

For the record though, if you hear the fire alarm, don't just assume it's a drill.

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