Fixing shoes, with SCIENCE

The other week, my shoes (which I’d only had since late december) started to leak water at the back. I wasn’t prepared to buy some new ones so soon, so I attempted repairs… first persuading dad to stick some leftover sealant from the building of the new front door* in them.

After that predictably didn’t work, I tried repairing them with some strange tape I found at work, it was more like slightly-thicker tinfoil with glue on it:

 shosci01.jpg – shosci02.jpg

shosci03.jpg – shosci04.jpg

Actually called “Hippo Tape”, a hippo is stronger than a duck, right?

After that predictably didn’t work, I used good old duck tape:

 shosci05.jpg – shosci06.jpg

That worked for a few days, but eventually frayed. I then used some even wierder tape I found, it’s very thick and tarry, being used for holding down roofing material! Unfortunately, you’re probably supposed to burn it on with a heat gun, or else stick it on on a summer’s day and leave it to cure for hours or days. Sticking it to barely-dried, dirty shoes didn’t really work. It didn’t fray very much, though, and certainly kept the water out, but soon just came off as one solid heel-shaped lump.

After that… I just went down JD Sports and got some discounted Dunlop Safety boots. Now those last for ages!

*-he’s replaced a large area of double-layered brick and double glazing with single glazing and thin wood. Ah yes, the one thing I’ve been thinking this winter is that the house was too warm. Oh also the new lock on the door is utterly stupid. You have to pull the door outwards, push the handle down, put the key in, push the handle down again, turn the key, push the handle down again, turn the key a bit more, and push the handle down a bit further. Hope you don’t have only one hand free…

‘Repairing’ the hoover at work

Every (well, most) Monday at my work, I hoover and mop the floors of certain rooms where delicate experiments take place, so they have to be kept clean. But the head of the hoover pipe kept coming off, because whatever catch was supposed to hold it on had long since gone, and age had distorted the plastic so even friction only barely held it in. How was I going to fix the problem? With science? No! with SCIENCE!


I found some strips of sticky velcro, which comes in one strip of hooky bits and one strip of fluffy bits (yes, those are their real names). I stuck a strip of fluff across the pipe and the head, then cut it where the join is:


Then I put the hooky bits on top, and cable-tied them together securely on the pipe:


After that, I cable tied around only the lower part on the head, to hold that securely. Then peeled off the backing paper on the outer part and replaced it with cut-up old pink tea towel (well, may as well use it for something).


And there we are! As I update this blog slowly, I actually did this before Christmas. BUT, to my surprise, it still works fine after several uses, and nothing has fallen off. Another problem solved with SCIENCE!

Making perspex display stands

Right then, useful / entertaining posts are go.


At my work, they occasionally get get tank adaptor kits with the pre-made assays from some company. I suppose it’s so they can be run in a different type of gel tank. However my work doesn’t have that kind of gel tank, so they just chuck them away. I thought they must have some useful purpose, so started to keep them.


Anyway, each pack contains two square pieces, and the perspex is really thick, clear and high quality. Having looked at people’s figure collections on Danny Choo, I wondered if I could make display stands with it. I decided to use 3 pieces and make a simple structure, not anything with fancy angles…


With sweaty steam-ups. Well if I put them on the floor to take a photo, you can’t see them

The edges are “milled” and so are able to ‘take’ glue without any preparation. I stuck the edges to the smooth sides of the adjacent piece, though to be honest it’d probably work better if you sanded them a little.


I thought about using Airfix glue, but I heard Revell Contacta glue is clearer and stronger. Though in the actual making of Airfix models (well, model, very slowly… I’ll post a full build sequence when I’m finally finished) I’ve been using a mixture of both.


After that, I used the corner in a piece of furniture to hold the parts in place. They need to be left many hours to set, I gave them each about 6-12. Overnight didn’t work once, because the heating was off and so it was too cold and damp for the glue to set. I moved the piece by accident early in the morning, but put it back in place and left for work. When I came home I found it had set solid anyway, so didn’t need re-gluing XD.


The end result is fairly sturdy, though I wouldn’t like to overload it. Good for Corgi Mini’s, though!


A couple o comics

A while back, Cambridge Oxfam had a load of early 90’s Beanos in. They included this one:


Which I beleive is the first ever one that I got (though I can’t remember exactly, pretty sure it had The Pink Glove on it though). Up until then I’d been getting “Turtle Comics”, and pestered my mum to buy them whenever she went to the shop. Of course “Turtle Comics” was probably a flavour-of-the-month craze cash-in, which had been cancelled. So my mum got a “steady rock” of the British comics industry (they had such a thing in those days… just about) “to keep that brat’s mouth shut”. Now I’m a sad, single shut-in with more comic shelves than walls. Result!

On the subject of cool comics, this actually exists:


Though I only have issues 1 and 3. Better ebay the others, eh?

My phone can take decent pictures…

 …when it feels like it anyway. We’ve had some spectacular sunrises and sets lately, but I keep forgetting my proper camera. The phone camera is crap at capturing them unless you get in exactly the right position. Even then these looked a lot more beautiful in real life.

 nice01.jpg – nice02.jpg

The second one is actually now my background. The first doesn’t look as good on the small screen. My old phone’s camera was better in some ways, though the pictures it took were more grainy they captured colours better. Still the up button on that phone broke so I couldn’t scroll as easily through my girlfriend’s cute texts and the photos of her. Also my new phone can receive Hiragana so she could send me Japanese passages for me to translate. So getting it was a bit pointless really wasn’t it? Also it’s big and flat and feels awkward in my pockets so I have to take it out when I sit down for break times at work. Still it’s having it’s own keyboard problems, namely over-sensitive buttons that make menu navigation about as predictable as a roulette wheel.

Still I did use it when I discovered an IRL texture misalignment.



Recently I read a deranged article about a guy who was deported from Japan. This is not a link to the original article, but to another site containing a copy of the first draft. The article is a “work in progress”, meaning it keeps changing every time awkward questions get asked. 


Picture related

(skim) Reading the article made me more and more angry at the country that begat my coldly-dumping girlfriend. I went to bed vowing to give up learning the language and never set foot there again. However I’d fallen into the same trap that and the red-top gutter press set – that blend of unsubstantiated claims and out-of-proportion-blowing with little bigoted snipes slipped in that makes you start thinking “yeah, these people are capable of that”. With a clearer head and the filter of, a much more amusing picture emerges: 

There’s plenty of rather glaring holes in the story and questions the guy refuses to ask. If you ask me the picture is more like…

– He had a work visa for Japan that had either expired, or was for a specific type of work (which was almost certainly teaching English in some chain school). His constant reiteration that he’s “been legal” in Japan for years and “paid taxes” are but poor excuses for illegal immigration. If your visa has expired you ain’t getting in. Countries aren’t in the business of selling citizenship.

–  If he did have a work visa for English teaching and had instead been working as a ‘journalist’ or ‘public speaker’ (he implies that some anti-nuclear speeches he gave are “the real reason” why he was deported. In the same way that the anti-whaling protesters and dolphin-protecting “Cove Watchers” keep getting deported for “anti-Japanese activities” eh?) then he was violating the terms of his visa. And that means it’s time to say bye bye.

– Somebody on Tepido also did a number-crunch and worked out that his claim that 20,000 people were being randomly plucked from immigration at the airport and thrown back out of the country was actually a rather big fact-twist. Actually 20,000 people in total were deported in that time period. A lot of them for committing real crimes!

Oh also while on a vaguely Japanese thread… Yo Sushi opened in Cambridge in 2011 (on Armistice day… to an utterly pathetic spectacle of protest by old codgers who know nothing about history claiming that “the young people” know “nothing about history”. No, nothing about the Wakamiya, or the Dogger Bank Incident in my memory. Of course Cornelius T. Soundbite, erm, I mean Julian Huppert, had to chime in with some cod-patriotic bollocks. Fuck off, the Lib Dems are even worse than New Labour.) and is fairly decent, if monumentally expensive. Then last year a tiny establishment called U Sushi appeared. It was just as monumentally expensive and didn’t have conveyor belts, so I didn’t bother trying it as I couldn’t be bothered to work out what I fancied in advance. However more recently they bought out a series of set menus, the cheapest of which is £8.80. Today I thought I may as well trot in…

MY GOD. I’m never going back to Yo Sushi! U Sushi is so much better it’s like it’s from another planet! Or maybe just the opposite side of the same planet.


It’s located here.

Epic defrosting

About a week ago at work somebody told me that a freezer needed defrosting, but that it had “tons” of ice in it. “Big deal” I thought, “I once saw a fridge in a very 60’s office that was probably the original, which also probably hadn’t been defrosted since Modesty Blaise was a new thing”. Then I walked over to the small lab and saw it. Lets just say it was just like the fridge in the 60’s office but twice the size!


Oh dear


I’d started chippin’ before I started photographin’

No pansy plastic scraper was going to cut through that shit. I went straight for the big guns…


Call me the Icenator


Discovered a cavern

In one side there was a bit of blue visible (it didn’t photograph) very well. I recognised it as the top of maybe a 15ml Falcon centrifuge tube.


There was also the run of the mill quantities of ice on the other shelves. One of them had it partly frozen onto the ‘basket’ below (this thing had apparently not even been opened in 2 years). I pulled out the basket and the whole slab of ice came with it. Some progress anyway!


I went back to the main lab where I was working because a Japanese guy was apparently starting that day, and I wanted to practice on him. As of now (more than a week later) the only word I’ve said to him is “Chiisai”. I’m too shy XD

Anyway later I went back and did some more chipping.


I had emptied the box last time

The excavations revealed that actually the centrifuge tube in the ice was a 50ml, not a 15 ml. And there was rather more than just one…


I can understand one or two little 1.5 ml tubes getting stuck in the ice…


…but this is ridiiiculous!

 A few more excavations. The ice at the bottom of the compartment was actually coming off in quite big lumps despite being “softer” than the “chippable” rock-solid stuff.



And finally I reached and removed the stuff frozen in the ice.




All this was frozen in there! It’s definitely more than one 15ml tube…

Then I turned my attention to the ice on the bottom of the compartment. The top came off pretty easily mostly in one lump.




I’m glad there was this big old developing sink.

Now for the ice under the shelf. I wondered if I could “cut” it in the middle, then prise it down  so that it’d drop off in two big lumps. I was worried that doing that would bend the shelf it was on the bottom of out of shape. But that didn’t happen.


Unfortunately I didn’t consider what it’d do to the shelf below…



Nobody was around so I discreetly shoved it back into place… kind of.


Just like it left the factory!

(Luckily it turned out later the freezer was going to be thrown away anyway). I used the same tactics on the “big job”, the ice at the top of the compartment.


Now there was only a little few bits left, so I set up a box to catch the drips and called it a day.




Oh yeah, and of course I got a picture of the sum total (well mostly) of the ice removed.


Barry box

On French barry (or “jacky”) cars sometimes get posted. They are usually expertly constructed using expanding foam, which is normally used to seal the gaps around pipes that come out of the wall of your house for whatever reason.

Anyway today we recieved a delivery at work in a box that, rather than being made out of the normal polystyrene, had been made of cardboard and then filled with le mousse expansif.  I’d started ripping it up for recycling, thinking it was just cardboard, and decided to carry on. That stuff is surprisngly tough!


Ripped off all the card I could (there was about 3 layers!) then started stabbing with the scissors…


Unlike cars that have been given the jacky touch, this one also had elastic bands to hold it together, doubling the strength!


Finally making some headway, more elastic bands!

Anyway I finally dismantled it into several flat sheets of foam and binned it. Next time, Spanish company, just have a look around for a proper box eh?

“Don’t mess with me – I’M AN ARCHAEOLOGIST!”

For ages I couldn’t remember the name of a wickedawesome TV series I watched a few years ago. Then I decided to search for the best quote from it (and when I finally start a metal band and headline huge festivals you can bet I’m writing a song with that title) and discovered the show was called Bonekickers!


Seriously Wikipedia? This is the best you could do?

…And apparently wasn’t very well received and won’t be returning for a second series. Well shit. All the more reason to headline massive festivals using a quote from it as a song title then.

Also according to the Wiki article it had a bad “Academic reception” with “different complaints around technical accuracy”. Fuck off you dozy cunts, it’s only a cheesy mystery series.

Duck: It’s my biiiiiiirthday!

Well actually it was Yesterday. But today at work we had a big cake for a contrived reason. My actual birthday provision for the break room was popcorn XD.

Anyway, I got a new phone.


It’s one of them

I’d now show you pictures of my cat that have been taken with it, but the memory card in it doesn’t work in a PC without being formatted, and it didn’t come with a USB cable that will fit either.

I also got a Lego motorbike


It’s one of them

That was my brothers idea.

Also at work a few days ago a woman showed up to do some temporary research practice, except when she arrived nobody knew she was coming and the bloke she’d been told would show her around was in Australia. Anyway today she apparently rang up and said she was refusing to work in such a disorganised place… and people were complaining about it! I thought it was perfectly reasonable.

Honestly, I can’t wait for the supercomputers to take over and institute the dystopian machine order.