Friday, January 26, 2007

A gap in the market?

Sometimes I scare myself.

There was a conversation in the office this afternoon about static electricity. This, in turn, led to one of those ooh-I-remember-that! discussions about physics lessons at school. Now, I don’t really get physics. I mean, I don’t understand why I need to know about things. The world just sort of works – I don’t need to know how.

The national curriculum and I didn’t see eye to eye on this and, until the age of thirteen, I sat through weekly physics lessons in a state of permanent confusion as my classmates ran little trolleys down slanty planks, or hung things off springs, or engaged in any manner of random activities that made little or no sense to me.

The one thing I did like, however, was the Van Der Graaf generator. For the uninitiated, this is a weird shiny dome thing that gives off some sort of electricity that makes your hair stick up but doesn’t kill you. Which is the best part, really. And then I got to thinking – where do you buy stuff like that?

Which is why I spent the afternoon googling “Van Der Graaf generator” and “physics supplies” and ended up wading through pages and pages of horrible prog album covers. And I still don’t know where a person, or even a school for that matter, might buy such a thing. Does anyone know? For reasons that are not entirely clear to me, it is imperative that I find out.

Christ.

18 Comments:

Blogger Lardy Big Bot chimed in with...

www.tinyurl.com/36szk5
There's one.

26 January, 2007 17:55  
Blogger Lardy Big Bot chimed in with...

Hand cranked for extra comedy effect.

26 January, 2007 17:57  
Blogger Lardy Big Bot chimed in with...

OH NO it's an American site...scratch that.

26 January, 2007 18:07  
Blogger Kellycat chimed in with...

I missed that lesson in physics because I was sat next to Rachel Davey who was drinking from a can of coke and I accidentally laughed out loud at her audacity at doing that in the middle of a lesson with a notoriously strict teacher which meant that I got sent out of the classroom and missed getting to hold the hand of the only good-looking boy and having my hair stand on end.

Not that I'm bitter.

26 January, 2007 20:04  
Blogger realdoc chimed in with...

I loved that experiment and you can recreate it at home by rubbing a balloon on your jumper. Sadly I don't know where you can buy a Van der Graaf generator.

26 January, 2007 21:39  
Anonymous Stu Savory chimed in with...

I thought VdGgenerator were a rock band?
http://www.vandergraafgenerator.co.uk/

So did they :-(

27 January, 2007 04:45  
Blogger violetforthemoment chimed in with...

Hey, Take The Skinheads Bowling is one of the greatest songs ever.

27 January, 2007 18:34  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

do you know, i had a private bet with myself that ol' stu savory would be the one to come up with the answer to this one.

it seems my gods have feet of clay after all. gah.

27 January, 2007 19:13  
Blogger garfer chimed in with...

Try the howstuffworks site. It explains all to technonumpties.

I tried it once and I still don't know one end of my supercharger from the other.

I'm good with nuclear fusion though.

27 January, 2007 22:18  
Anonymous entropy chimed in with...

Wikipedia says that the prog rock band is Van der Graaf Generator, but the static generator is a Van de Graaff generator, if that helps narrow down your search.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_de_Graaff_generator

27 January, 2007 23:39  
Blogger Melissa chimed in with...

I was just looking up static electricity stuff myself, and ran across this: http://www.wannalearn.com/Academic_Subjects/Science/Static_Ball.html. I remembered your post and I hope it's what you were looking for.

28 January, 2007 04:49  
Blogger Melissa chimed in with...

Oh, but it's pricey.

28 January, 2007 04:50  
Anonymous aimee chimed in with...

I'm terribly bored at work so I spent some time looking for them. They're much cheaper and much more available in the US, but here are some UK suppliers which have them...

Here's one
(page 5)

and another...

and another

and finally

ooh and one for free rental??

(Googled educational scientific supplies or variations thereof)

28 January, 2007 11:29  
Blogger violetforthemoment chimed in with...

You could just improvise with a balloon, of course. Much cheaper though the squeaky noise they make when you rub them sets my teeth on edge.

28 January, 2007 22:34  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

No home should be without one!
after you purchase that, you can get This, and this, and start showing up at work looking like
href="http://images.art.com">this

28 January, 2007 22:55  
Blogger Billy chimed in with...

"Hey, Take The Skinheads Bowling is one of the greatest songs ever."

Isn't that Camper Van Beethoven?

Or maybe Van Morrison???

What other great Vans are there?

29 January, 2007 10:10  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

um, vans trainers? i know that doesn't count but i didn't want to not offer anything to he discussion....

29 January, 2007 18:38  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

by the way, i note that some of you have even more time on your hands than i have. thank you for your suggestions, and can i recommend some sort of cognitive therapy?

29 January, 2007 18:40  

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