Thursday, May 10, 2012

What do you call a dog with no legs?

There is a corny joke that goes, “What do you call a quadriplegic dog?” Nothing, because he won’t come anyway. Eldest and I went to Imagine RIT, a huge event at Rochester Institute of Technology, where we found a group of students who designed a specialized wheel chair for quadriplegic dogs. I suppose the new answer to that old joke would now be “Lucky; if he has one of these.”

My trip to Imagine RIT was a father/daughter date with Eldest, and the first exhibit we saw was a “homebrew” vacuum tube amplifier for a phonograph. The sound from the amp was amazing-- full, vibrant, and rich. The schematic for the amp was on display, and Eldest and I looked at it. I swelled with pride as she was able to identify the different symbols and the components they represented. With one notable exception, she could not identify the symbol for a vacuum tube. This was not surprising, as she had never seen a vacuum tube before.

As Eldest and I considered which displays to visit we consulted the map and we saw a display that we decided we would enjoy visiting. It was out of the way and difficult to find. We asked a student who promptly gave us directions to get us lost. As we wandered aimlessly up and down hallways for hours without any other humans in view, we discussed why the layout of the entire school was so complicated. Eldest observed, “This is a school for smart people. It must be that if a student cannot find their way to class they are expelled.”

We left the building, and as we walked outside, I noticed a unique architectural design that was easy to spot on the map. We rushed back into the building and there was the display we had been looking for. It was closed. I believe the student could not find where he was supposed to be and the Dean of Students has since expelled him.

Speaking of unique architectural features, we entered one building and found a staircase with the digits of pi engraved onto the steps. This delighted Eldest to no end and we had to take many pictures of pi.
Eldest taking pictures of pi

Take cream add dry ice and stir
Ice cream, delicious.
 On the floor above the pi staircase, young chemists were making homemade ice cream by dumping dry ice into cream and stirring. Eldest and I tried some and found it delicious. It also occurred to me that with the pi staircase and ice cream on the floor above, it was like pi a la mode.

On the way home Eldest and I talked about all the amazing things we saw. She said her favorite display of all of them was the “disk-turny-thingy.” I thought hard, running through all of the displays we saw and finally asked her what she meant. She said, “You know, the one with the vacuum tubes.” Apparently, not only were vacuum tubes foreign to her, but so were vinyl records on a turntable. She, however, claims that this is not the case, she simply could not remember the word “phonograph” and did not want to use the phrase “record player.”

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