Albert Einstein said “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Me too. This week must be mystery week for me, in my previous post I wanted to know how many enlightened people there are nowadays.
I know there’re more important mysteries out there that need answering but I have two more on the back burners waiting for explanations. The oldest one of the two I’ll call the German toilet mystery. A more recent mystery is the pop rivet mystery. Neither one is particularly important to the big picture but I don’t have answers to them so they leave me curious.
I’ll start with the one that’s been on the back burner the longest – the German toilet. I first noticed them in Germany years ago. They look like a regular toilet on the outside. But when you look in there’s a platform for anything that comes out of you to land on. This is a dry platform in the toilet bowl, the normal water part is in the back part of the bowl. When you flush, whatever’s on that little platform is whisked off, down, and away just like a normal toilet.
When I was in Germany these toilets seemed pretty common. I thought they were weird and I asked lots of people there about them. But the people who were used to using them didn’t understand my confusion. And the people who shared my confusion had no idea. I still don’t know, maybe there’s something fascinating to the Germanic psyche about excrement or at least to the designers of these types of toilets. They seem to have designed something that resonated with Germans and the German market found them compelling enough to buy.
The next mystery is one that is newer for me. I read a comment on another blog about a mystery the commenter was trying to figure out.
He noticed a strange performance phenomenon when using a pop riveter (basically big pliers that need two hands) on a project.
He had to squeeze the pop riveter really hard to put in each rivet and got to the point where he could put one in about every 15 seconds. He noticed that after about 10 to 15 minutes squeezing the handles of the pop riveter became suddenly easier, while the force needed to squeeze the tool didn’t change. The rest of the rivets he put in during that session all felt easy. The same thing happened during each session working with the pop riveter. So he decided to experiment at the gym.
He knew he could lift 405 pounds off of the floor once. So he’d try lifting and then dropping 255 pounds off of the ground every 15 seconds for 15 minutes or until he noticed the same thing he had while pop riveting. At 12 and a half minutes the lifting suddenly became easier! The change was so sudden and profound that he started adding weight every 2-4 pulls and spent minutes 17, 18, and 19 lifting 365 pounds every 15 seconds.
He talked one of his weight lifting friends into trying it with him the next week. At 12 minutes and 15 seconds, the pop riveter’s lifts suddenly got easier, but he didn’t say anything. At 13 and a half minutes his friend was shocked; the lifting suddenly felt easier to him too. They continued to 15 minutes and both agreed the perceived effort during the final minutes was less than all the lifts leading up to the sudden change point.
The pop riveter continued experimenting in the gym with other types of lifts and found that they consistently got easier 10 to 12 minutes into each session.
Is strength a skill? Maybe there’s an undocumented phenomenon that could be useful to know about? Is it only a perception change? How long-lasting is the change? He’s not sure what to make of it and it’s a mystery to me too. But it’s interesting.