When I was around 12 years old, one of my best friends at school was a guy called Carl Clements. Carl was extremely clever and gifted I often wonder what he ended up doing.
When the other kids were kicking a soccer ball around during the breaks, Carl would be sketching out circuit diagrams in the dust with his finger, showing me how to make an amplifier using a single bipolar junction transistor and stuff like that (we knew how to have a good time :-)
I remember one day when Carl brought a lie detector to school. It boasted all sorts of coils and wires and suchlike attaches to a wooden board. He would persuade people to hold the two contacts while he held the main board.
Carl would start by asking their name they would reply and nothing would happen. Then he would say "Let's make sure it's working I'm going to ask you a question and you tell a lie." So he would ask them something like "Are you a girl?" (The chances of the person being a girl were zero because it was a boys-only school). Upon replying "Yes" to this question the boy would receive a substantial electric shock.
Carl would then proceed to ask a bunch of other questions. Of course the whole thing was a spoof Carl was triggering the shocks by hand using a hidden switch mounted under the board he was only caught out when the victim received a shock and indignantly proclaimed "But that's true!"
The reason I'm waffling on about that here is that I just saw a rather good joke. I'm sure this one is an "old chestnut" but it's the first time I've seen it:
A father buys a lie detector robot that slaps people when they lie. He decides to test it out at dinner one night. The father asks his son what he did that day. The son says, "I did some schoolwork." The robot slaps the son. The son says, "Ok, Ok. I was at a friend's house watching movies." The dad asks, "What movie did you watch?" The son replies, "Toy Story." The robot slaps the son. The son says, "Ok, Ok we were watching porn." The dad says, "What? At your age I didn't even know what porn was!" The robot slaps the father. The mom laughs and says, "Well, he certainly is your son!" The robot slaps the mother! End of Story P.S. Robot for sale!
In turn, this reminded me of those snippets from the Jimmy Kimmel show where he puts a fake lie detector on a kit's head for example, take a peek at the following video:
Did anyone at your high-school come up with a spoof like this?
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My High School fraternity's faculty sponsor was the biology teacher, Fr. Mike, who had access to lots of surplus stuff (for example, the X-Ray textbook with an X-Ray of some guy with a standard-sized Heinz Ketchup bottle up his rectum; he had originally claimed he was mugged but it was later determined that he'd done it himself, according to the text).
Things were different back in those days ...
For initiation, the fraterntiy had three electrified items, each hooked up to its own battery and Model T ignition coil: a rug with interlacing electrodes, a chair with an array of bolts in the seat, and a real coffin with interlacing electrodes in the bed.
The chair was used as a lie detector:
INQUISITOR: What's your name?
PLEDGE: "..." (It didn't matter what your name was ...)
INQUISITOR: WRONG! ZAP! (as they came flying out of the chair)
One had to walk across the rug, and lay in the coffin, with similar results. They stopped putting the lid on the coffen a few years before when a football player with claustrophobia came through the lid when he was zapped, putting a crack in the lid, and then ran out the gym door and down the road in his socks and gym shorts.
Then there were the pills Fr. Mike got from a pharmeceutical rep friend that were used to dye ones urine to check kidney and bladder function. There was always one guy who couldn't swallow a capsule and ended up chewing it and getting blue dye all over his mouth and face. They had stopped using the red dye when some kid peed at home and his parents became concerned.
Reminds me of the story in which the police were interrogating a known criminal at the police station. They used a photo copier as a "lie detector" - when the thug answered a question, they would hit the copy button and out would come a piece of paper with the words "He's lying" printed on it.
The thug was not too bright and actually believed the copier was a lie detecting machine. He eventually confessed.
When I was in third grade I "invented " a shock machine. It was a small cardboard carton, about 1x2x3 inches, that had two leads with ring terminals on the ends. IT was called the shock box, which was quite amazing since inside the two wires were simply tied in knots so that they would not pull out. But then result was just as effective as if it had been a powerful shocking device. Of course the school authorities didn't take to it very well, but when it was opened for examination they realized it was harmless. But the fact that something could be believed with absolutely nothing to back it up is still amazing.
When I was in High School back in the 60's I got a plastic box and mounted a 10 microamp meter on the front. Inside the box I had a 9-volt battery in series with the meter connected to two screws with their heads exposed on the bsck cover of the box. I printed an official-looking "Marijuana Detector" label and put it on the front. I could wet my fingers and then when I pressed against the screw heads I could make the meter go up and down. It was fun to walk down a row of lockers as if the device was "sniffing" for drugs. I had some upperclassmen sweating bullets.
My Dad was in charge of Security and Safety for a grocery store chain at the time. When he found out about the device he asked if he could take it to work. He came home that afternoon laughing. It seems that he had pulled the prank in one of the stores. When he got close to one of the lockers an employee approached him and asked if he could resign without any further questions being asked. I guess the device really did detect marijuana after all!
David - He moved away the summer before high school so I lost track of him. He was back in town very briefly a few years later with some stories about both breaking into the school computer and helping administer it where he had been living. But I have no idea after that.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for todays commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.