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Friday, November 25, 2005

Angry Dan and the Perpetual Motion Engine

Bars are a festering ground for outrageous boasts. It is a perfect place for tipsy individuals to claim they can perform tasks that in a sober state would seem ridiculous, if not outright dangerous. Money quickly exchanges hands after someone boasts: 'I'd bet a hunnert dollars I c'n kish a cobra a dozen times b'for it hazza chance to bite me!' and off everyone would trounce to the nearest zoo with the soberest of the lot having the unfortunate duty of calling the paramedics or, in extreme cases, the next of kin when things go awry. Less dangerous boasts/claims/ theories/ opinions are also rife. Who'll win the next cricket match, which coach will quit because of a sex scandal involving snorkels and 14-year old Indonesian kids with Brittle Bone disease or how long Jesus could survive on the surface of the Sun.

Of all the silly claims that I have heard in my time spent in bars (i.e. What the One True Religion is) the dumbest would surely have to be the one that Angry Dan claimed when he was drinking with some of the boys. Sadly I was not present but Dean was. This is the story Dean told me:

The lads had been drinking at a bar some place ( I'm a worse listener than I am a story teller) when Angry Dan suddenly stops drinking. He actually acted if he had been struck. Angry Dan then grabs one of the guys ( John or Dean. I can't remember and you probably don't know them) and says ' Put your drink down for a minute...I've got something I have to tell you.' John (I think) keeps drinking and replies, 'Alright, what is it?' Angry Dan is renowned for telling long-winded stories that lead nowhere. Ahem.
Angry Dan goes 'Nah. Seriously. Put your drink down this is amazing.'
John wearily puts down his drink.
Angry Dan: 'I think I've just figured out how to make a perpetual motion engine.'
Which is a pretty strange claim coming from a theoretical physicist let alone a guy who thinks lighting farts is funny. John stares at him for a long time and says 'Shut up idiot.' But Angry Dan was adamant that everyone hear his theory 'Alright, alright. You've got like a little cog here right? And say this cog has five teeth and the cog next to it has ten teeth. Are you with me so far? So, the cog after that one has more teeth...'
'Hold it. Are you trying to tell me your theory of perpetual motion is a series of cogs?'
'Yeah man. Isn't it brilliant?'

Apparently the perpetual motion thing had been a fascination of Angry Dan's for quite some time. Now, I'm no physics guy but even I know that the more cogs one has the more friction there will be and that each subsequent cog would require more energy to move but Angry Dan will listen to none of this. Apparently Dean and the boys would get random calls from Angry Dan who would be tweaking his theories. This inevitably entailed more cogs.

Unfortunately for Angry Dan the quest for perpetual motion would encroach on his romantic life. Dean and a mate were watching Angry Dan trying to pick up a couple of girls at the Elephant & Wheelbarrow the other day and Dean decided to make it interesting. 'Hey Dan, why don't you tell the girls about your perpetual motion engine?' And Angry Dan readily complied. One of the girls had just graduated university, in the field of physics coincidentally enough ,and had listened to Dan's speech trying not to laugh. She then spent the next fifteen minutes making Angry Dan's life miserable by explaining why his theory was the dumbest thing she had ever heard.

In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!


Blogger Hamish said...

That reminds me of the time I was doing an ungodly amount of driving in one 36 hour span -- as I was shifting from 4th to 5th gears over some stretch of vacant highway, I hatched a brilliant plan for a car that shifted gears... automatically. Of course, I was deliriously tired, but just thought I'd share in case you wanted to start collecting ridiculously bad ideas.

9:13 am  

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