Friday, September 19, 2008

The Taser

History is being made near Geneva, Switzerland.

That's where the "Large Hadron Collider" is located, and it was switched on last week.

A Super Collider is a very large, round machine. This one has a circumference of about 17 miles. It is buried about 300 feet below the ground and part of it dips down into France. Inside, scientists shoot a stream of protons in one direction around the collider very fast. Very fast, indeed. They travel the entire 17 miles just over 11,000 times per *second.* That, my friends, nearly approaches the speed of light. After that, they will fire up another stream of protons traveling just as fast, but in the other direction. And then slowly, very slowly, they will bring the streams into a head-on collision. (Hence the name "Super Collider.")

No one knows for sure what will happen. Some extreme theories say the collision will produce an anti-matter black hole and the world, as we know it, will come to a spectacular end. What the scientists behind the project say will happen is that an explosion very similar in nature to the "Big Bang" that created the universe will occur, but on a much smaller scale, of course. They expect the particle collision to generate temperatures more than 100,000 times hotter than the sun. To keep things from melting, liquid superfluid helium is impacted around the collider, keeping the temperature of the machine more than a negative 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

If it works like they hope, the world's energy crisis could be over. And science will have a few more answers. And Christians will have a few more reasons to marvel at the power and ingenuity of our great God.

By the way, the news story, which includes some enlightening comments by others at the bottom, is here.


I was looking for an unusual gift for my wife's birthday, and what I finally found was a 50,000 volt pocket/purse-sized Taser gun. The effects of the Taser were supposed to be short-lived, with no long term adverse consequences for either the user or the assailant, but it would incapacitate the attacker long enough for my wife to retreat to safety. WAY TOO COOL, I thought.

So I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded a handful of AA-batteries into it and pushed the button. Nothing. I was disappointed. But I quickly learned that if I pushed the button AND pressed the tongs against a metal surface, it would make that blue arch of electricity. Awesome!

I have yet, however, had the courage to explain to my wife what that burn spot on the front of her microwave is.

So there I was, home alone with this new toy, and I'm thinking that it can't be all that bad since it's powered by AA-batteries. Can it?

Our cat, Gracie, watched me as I sat in the recliner, reading the directions and starting to think that I needed to try this thing out on a real flesh-and-blood target. I'll admit that I thought about giving Gracie a very quick zap, but then thought better of it. She is, after all, a very sweet cat. But then I started thinking that if I'm going to give this thing to my wife as protection against a mugger, I wanted some assurance that it would do the job and live up to its advertisements. Was I wrong to think this?

Now, I'm sitting in my shorts and a tee shirt with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, Taser in the other. The directions said a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst would cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; and a three-second burst would supposedly cause your assailant to flop around on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would just be a waste of batteries.

All the while I'm reading this, I'm looking at this little device that measures no more than five inches long, powered by a small handful of AA-batteries, and I'm thinking to myself, "No possible way can it do this." I'll try to piece together what happened next from my shaky memory of the events.

I'm sitting there in the recliner, Gracie is looking at me with her head cocked - as if to say, "don't do it, dummy" - and I'm talking myself into believing that a little one-second burst from such a tiny thing can't hurt that bad. So I decided to try it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and HOLY WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION!!!

I'm pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in from a side door, picked me up out of the recliner, and body-slammed us both onto the floor, over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up, on my side, in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, drooling, and my left arm tucked under my body in the weirdest position. And my legs were still tingling. The cat was standing over me, licking my face, meowing encouragement to "do it again, do it again!"

NOTE: If you ever feel compelled to try a Taser out on yourself, let me pass on one word of caution: There is no such thing as a "one-second burst" when you zap yourself. Your hand will spasm and you will clench that thing until it's knocked out of your hand by a violent thrashing around on the floor. A three-second burst would be considered a conservative estimate of what will happen.

A few minutes later, though I can't be sure since time was a relative thing at that point, I collected what few wits I had left, sat up, and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were hanging off one corner of the picture frame above the fireplace. How'd they get up there? My triceps, right thigh, and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt as if it had been shot full of Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed approximately 88 pounds.

The gun works, people. Oh, it works just fine.

By the way, has anyone seen my toenails?

[going 'round the 'Net since 2004; selected from Good Clean Funnies List and a separate submission from list member Philip C.; heavy editing and some rewriting by Mark Raymond]


My daughter's community choir has a small concert on Sunday afternoon, and we'll be busy once again with the ice cream scoopers at our local Renaissance Festival on Saturday. We are such slaves to fundraising. But hey, at least we're not at work.

I'll see you on Monday.



WEB SITE of the WEEK: At, you can enter your city, state, or ZIP code and be directed to a list of other websites that will provide you copies of actual health inspection reports to restaurants in your area. The site also headlines gross violations from around the nation that are newsworthy, and has a video section covering special reports ... including the infamous one where we're told that anyone who has a restaurant put a lemon in their drink might as well just drink a cupful of bacteria.


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