austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

You got the touch

While I go to K Mart reasonably often, that shouldn't be taken to suggest that I don't go to other large, box-based discount stores. Just a little down the road from the Big K Mart with the problem seagulls, and in the same strip mall block as the nearest Barnes and Noble, is a Target. I don't seem to be quite in the (pardon me) Target target demographic, since I do wander in there every now and then and try to give it a fair try, but I don't seem to come away with anything I particularly want other than a soda or a peanut butter cup. It's just not efficient to go through the effort of building a 2,038,000-square-foot store and staffing it to make the occasional sale of a peanut butter cup to me. They need more customers, at least.

Now, I've been looking for a couple days now for a power converter, to go from 120 Volts to 240 Volts. This is because I have a couple of devices bought in Singapore, using the British plug system, that I want to use here. Namely, they're my external hard drive and my electric toothbrush. Right now I only have the one converter, and moving plugs around from one to the other is fine for a short while, but I'm getting tired of it. I don't remember where I got this converter, but the local Radio Shack, the next local Radio Shack, and the Big K Mart didn't have them, so I was giving Target a try.

I found regions that looked like they should have power converters, but was getting frustrated by the lack of actual converters. (In Singapore it's hard to find a store that sells electronics that doesn't sell converters.) Finally I gave in and, against my instincts, asked a clerk. He agreed there should be the power converters around, but couldn't find them either, so he asked the disembodied, authoritative voice which comes from his walkie-talkie. According to disembodied, authoritative voice there's been some sort of recall on their power converters and there's none to be had. I hadn't heard a thing, until now, but then where would you look for power converter recall information ahead of buying one?

Trivia: Charles Dowd proposed a five-time-zone division for North American railroads, essentially the time zones of today, in 1872, when he was principal of Temple Grove Ladies' Seminary (now Skidmore College) in Saratoga Springs, New York. Source: Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time, Clark Blaise.

Currently Reading: The 13th Element: The Sordid Tale of Murder, Fire, and Phosphorus, John Emsley. And a mention of an Isaac Asimov science essay I'd wondered about a while ago -- according to the knowledge of the early 60s, phosphates seem to eventually circulate into the deep ocean where, a half century ago, they were believed to get stuck. I wondered if there was some knowledge now of whether they get back up. Turns out there isn't a known way yet, suggesting that when the invading aliens do come, it's going to be for our phosphorus.


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