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Fresh cotton underpants fix series of mysterious mainframe crashes

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Nine years ago I worked on systems used in emergency services' control rooms. My colleague suspected a problem with static, and asked me to go to the site with him.

The company actually had a gizmo to measure static electricity, which we took.

When we got there, he produced a pack of balloons. We inflated a couple, and then rubbed a balloon on each other. Seeing as this was the fallback control room, there was no one to see this spectacle.

At the same period of time, my mum had a cat with a particular talent. One day I had been vigorously stroking him, and for some reason I pointed my index finger towards his nose. There was an audible crack and a 10mm spark jumped from my finger to his nose, the poor thing. I took the static electricity measuring thing home from work, and got the cat up to 40,000 volts with ease.

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