Nov 23, 2019
RAY: A few weeks ago, my vacuum broke. This is a conventional vacuum cleaner -- the kind that's on wheels, with the hose that plugs in on one end. The vacuum looks like a torpedo.
Before I threw it out, however, I decided I'd take it apart to see if I could fix it. I surprised myself and found the problem. It was a broken wire.
While I'm fixing it, I notice a huge chunk of iron attached to the base of the vacuum. It looks like it weighs about two pounds.
I remembered two years ago when I took a stereo component apart. I noticed that it also had a huge chunk of iron in there -- so that you wouldn't think it was a big empty box with 65 cents' worth of components.
I thought, do I want my wife dragging around this vacuum cleaner that's two pounds heavier? Of course not. I'll just throw this thing out. So I pry off the piece of iron and I put the vacuum back together.
A while later, I'm sitting at the kitchen table, smugly chewing on an apple.
It works all right. But something very funny happens. So the question is, what was that funny thing?
RAY: So my wife comes into the house and I proudly proclaim that I've fixed the vacuum cleaner and made it lighter, and I invite her to press the button. And she does. And the question is, what happened?
Well, I'm sure most of you would expect that the thing burst into flames or vibrated itself to death. But in fact, the motor started turning in one direction and the whole vacuum cleaner turned in the other direction. And it was ripping the cord out of the wall, creating all kinds of sparks, at which point my wife said, “Good work, Hon.” So they had put the weight in for a reason.