Neutrinos with Syrup

Moment of zen… Losing your Marbles

I don’t know what it is about this thing, but I find it strangely hypnoti…


  • The Professor

    What a lovely little contraption, very cute and clever. I also see hours, and hours, and hours, and hours, of fiddling around and tweaking to get the thing working just so. Nothing wrong with that, but man…

    • Alff

      Imagine how beautiful you could make one, with the resources at your disposal.

      • The Professor

        Why, thank you for the nice thoughts. I have to admit that while watching the video, I was thinking that it was a pity that it seemed to be made of odds and ends of scrap wood instead of something prettier, but on the other hand that also gives the thing its charm, don't you think?

        Well, wish me luck. I'm off to have a cataract operation performed this AM. I've had one before, and it wasn't that bad, but it's never any fun to go and have your eyes cut on. Shudder. The worst thing is I can't have any coffee this morning! Bastards!

        • Alff

          I'm old school. Just said a prayer for you.

          • The Professor

            Well, it must have worked because I survived. It was actually pretty much of a breeze. The pre-op prep took longer than the operation did – 20 minutes, tops. No anesthetic hangover, total time spent at the surgery center was 3 hours, most of which were spent waiting. Now I have a big ugly eyepatch on and no depth perception, but that comes off tomorrow. And I can finally kiss the half clear/ half fuzzy vision thing goodbye, and good riddance.

          • Alff

            Glad to hear it. Is cataracts surgery done with lasers?

          • The Professor

            No, they use an ultrasonic probe which is inserted thru a small incision in the cornea to break up the hardened, cloudy lens. A small hollow tube is inserted through the incision and the bits of the lens are sucked out, and the new, silicone lens is inserted via yet another small tube. There is very little trauma to the eye, which is why recovery is so fast.

          • SHEESH!

            Cool, but SHEESH!!

          • OA5599

            Was the timing coincidental, or did you schedule your surgery to take place during the week when an eye patch is a scavenger hunt item?

            Anyway, congratulations on your complication-free surgery.

          • The Professor

            Why, yes I did. I couldn't figure out any other method of acquiring a functional eyepatch, so I decided to go and have my eyeball pierced by needles. I thought it was s rather clever idea. Don't you?


          • Number_Six

            Speedy recovereye to you, Professor!

          • The Professor

            Thank you. So far, so good.

  • The last sequence reminded me of one of the smartest investments my parents ever made, which was getting me one of these as a kid:

    [youtube 3X5_tTTMNyY youtube]

    It kept me quietly occupied for many hours, over many weeks, over many months….

    • Jealous!!

    • The Professor

      We bought one of those for our boys long ago, but they are incredibly noisy. It wasn't long before it was banished to the great room sans batteries.

  • Nice! As a Lego head, I must mention the GBC (Great Ball Contraption). It is a standard for creating modules that move marbles (well Lego soccer and basketball balls). Info is here:

    One example among many:
    [youtube j_wXyZfDIDM&feature=related youtube]

    • The Professor

      Nothing against Legos, but the hand crafted nature of the main subject is far and away more elegant than any lego construction that I've ever seen. A lot of the contraption's ramps are hand carved, the guide rails and tracks are soldered brass rod, etc. It has great appeal to the artisan in me.

      • Split decision here: I admire and aspire to the greatness of these artisan works of art, but Legos allow creativity irregardless of skill level. Many of today's artists and tinkerers were sparked/inspired by colorful blocks of plastic… just as our generation was inspired by Lincoln logs & Erector sets.

        • PowerTryp

          And that's exactly why most of my generation has no clue how to use a wrench. I may only be 23 but I loved the hell out of my Erector set.

  • tonyola

    This gizmo brings to mind something from my early childhood
    …[youtube zLPm1vx-UOg&feature=related youtube]

    • The Professor

      Oh my, I haven't thought about Mousetrap in a very, very,…very long time. A good game for the little ones.

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        Not really cause mine got the ball bearing stuck under some door trim behind the carpet and tried to dig it out with a butter knife in the end using it to pry the trim apart. Maybe they have a future in eye surgery? Anyway, great to read about you doing well after your cataract operation, neat how they do it.

        • The Professor

          Thanks. The bandages came off today and all is well. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be able to see clearly again.

    • OA5599

      I was very pleased at first when my son got a Mouse Trap game as a gift. I was soon disappointed to learn that the game was not the Rube Goldberg-inspired version, but something else entirely. It uses Lego wannabe bricks for no apparent reason, and isn't particularly fun to play.

      <img src=""&gt;

  • Here is something to help turn it on…

    [youtube UmQ5LsNMXZ4 youtube]