me: ooh!

Aspirations

Just jotting this down for posterity's sake.

Current aspirations of Humuhumu, soon-to-be aged 9: "During the week, my job will be archaeology. On Saturdays, I'll do my art, and on Sundays, I'll write books."

Current aspirations of Keiki, aged 6: "I'm going to be a military doctor and a microbiologist. I will invent a nanobug weapon that causes all our enemies' weapons to rust instantaneously."

Previously they wanted to be scuba divers and marine biologists (because of the long-standing influence of the Octonauts).

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lolcat: science

Case breaking

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This is a Zero Centurion Elite flight case. It was used to transport the Flight Model (FM) harness assembly for Cassini’s magnetometer to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory back in the 1990s. It has a three-numeral combination lock embedded into it. The last time this combination was opened was at least four years ago. I watched my then-boss, Steve (now retired), open the lock, show me the case internals, and then lock it again.

I remember chuckling at the combination.

2021-09-19_08-31-59
(Not the combination).

You can see where this is going, I assume.

I was supposed to “deal with” the case some time ago, but other things kept taking priority. Then I left the lab. Then Covid happened.

Finally I made my recent trip down to the lab. I extracted the case from beneath the pile of stuff that had accumulated on top of it. I looked at the combination lock. I tried the obvious combinations (000, 123, 666, etc). Did any of those work? Of course not.

Here is a list of other things that didn’t work.
  • Swearing
  • Talking through the scenario four years ago with my ex-boss in the hopes of jogging my memory
  • Wiggling a screwdriver in the gap between the lid and the body of the case whilst trying random combinations
  • Wiggling a screwdriver in the gap between the lid and the body of the case whilst methodically going through every possible combination of three-digit numbers
  • Drinking wine
  • Watching YouTube videos about picking combination locks on suitcases and trying to hear or feel the difference in the clicks between numbers
  • Discovering that three of the numbers (6,6, and 6) had black lines drawn under them, presumably to remind everyone of the combination (PS I KNEW IT)
  • Drinking gin
  • Applying graphite to the rotating number wheels
  • Applying whisky to the humans
  • Trying 666 with the screwdriver trick while swearing and wiggling a screwdriver in the gap
  • Trawling the internet for clues about how to pick Zero Centurion (which later became Halliburton) locks, finding many blog posts about how to reset it from the inside if you already know the combination
  • Giving it a firm whack

Here is what did work.

  • This blog post, dug up by friend-who-is-not-in-the-journalsphere-any-more whose Google-fu is mightiest
  • Following its instructions and tapping out the hinge pin with a small punch and a hammer, then extracting it with pliers

20210919_202717

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PS It is empty apart from foam padding but I didn't fancy taking it to the post office and, upon being asked what was inside, answering "I don't know!"


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me: walk softly and carry big stick

Flanage in London

 

I am excited that I have managed to use a different route to travel between all of my destinations every day whilst visiting London.


Day 1:

Euston to Imperial College: Victoria Line to Victoria, change at Victoria to District line, exit South Kensington and walk up past the museums 


Imperial College to Mortlake: Bus to Hammersmith, walk to Castlenau, 209 bus to destination


Day 2:

Mortlake to Imperial College: Southwest train to Vauxhall, 360 bus on diversion to South Kensington

Imperial College to Putney: District line to East Putney (Wimbledon line), dinner at Bill's and a film at the Odeon, Shang-Chi which I give eleventy million stars


Putney to Mortlake: 378 bus to Mortlake bus station 


Day 3

Mortlake to Imperial College: 209 bus to Castlenau, walk to Hammersmith, Piccadilly line to Gloucester Road


Imperial College to Mortlake: District line to Richmond, Southwest train to Mortlake.


I go home today. There isn't much variation I can introduce to the train line from London to Birmingham and I'm carrying a large instrument flight case so I'll be taking the route that involves minimal walking and is thus redundant with some of the above.




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me: ooh!

Sir Alfred Jodrell's Shell Museum (Glandford, Norfolk, UK)

Shell museum
One of north Norfolk's little gems is the Glandford Shell Museum, a small building housing a "cabinet of curiosities" collection.

I brought my macro lens and went to town.

Sir Alfred Jodrell's Shell Museum
The handwritten labels were charming.

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If you're ever in the village of Glandford, it's well worth the £2.50 for the price of admission.

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me: wrong side of the mirror

Seal-watching at Blakeney Point

Seal at Blakeney Point
We went on a seal-watching boat trip at Blakeney Point, on the coast of north Norfolk. Underneath the cut are a quite unnecessary quantity of seal photos. Be grateful they are not accompanied by the smell. They may be cute, but they sure do stink.

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This is only a fraction of the seal population (common and grey) in the area, which was rather comforting to hear.

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