Originally published on November 17, 2011
I guess my brain is wired a little differently. I have these rotating set of obsessions for as far back as I can remember. Some of them do a full rotation and then eventually evolve into other interests. Curiosity drives it all and it's this wonder drug that has stuck with me. I cannot help by look at my surroundings, the cosmos at large, but also observing other constructs such as the concept of self, consciousness, cognition e.t.c and can't help but go a little deeper into these subjects. I wonder if the basis of curiosity is largely a genetic trait. This strong desire for trying to figure out how things work, discovering constructs and uncovering insights.
As a kid, I could hardly wait to take my toys apart. Although I don’t ever recall deliberately breaking my toys, just to be able to salvage the parts. But boy, when they did break. I couldn’t help but scrutinize the inner workings. The pulleys, the axle, the machinery and how it all fit together. Lego, puzzles, action figures, video games and programming basic (later on) were fun.
9v batteries can drive a lot of innovative projects for a 6 year old. Yes, my siblings might have tricked me into placing the tip of my tongue on those darned batteries. But that was it. I learned quickly, never to repeat that kind of a mistake again. Instead, I decided to kick it up a notch. Those tiny little motors in the toys were my favorite. I extracted them from these broken toys and made so many different things out of them. Fans and learning how to use different materials and tilt the propellers just a fraction for the ideal air-flow (all by observing and experimenting). I must have been 6 or 7 years old at the time and my most notable achievement was the “automated coffee/tea stirrer”. It was an idea/product that I conceived completely on my own and the solution was as simple as attaching a plastic spoon to a motor. But it had to be the right height and you could only have so much liquid filling up the cup, as you didn’t want any spills. The intent was for this device to dissolve all the sugar in any given cup in a fraction of a second. I remember taking measurements on my Casio and had the whole thing down to 2 seconds. The contraption was cobbled together using rubber-band, thumb-tacks and ice-cream sticks.
There were also some terrible failures. As in, trying to place the wires connected to a 9v motor into a wall socket. I was expecting that it was going to go super fast and my home made fan would provide much relief in the sweltering South-Asian heat. I just remember a huge flash of light. When I regained my sight after a minute, which seemed like an eternity. I recall seeing a big black patch or carbon on the wall socket. Yikes!
I miss my automated coffee stirrer. On a serious note, I’m thinking it could help drive efficiency at Tim Hortons.