Minor news from this past year

a strange ‘outer space’ signal that has baffled Australian scientists at the Parkes Observatory for 17 years turned out to be coming from the microwave oven in the kitchen.

Who knew that microwave ovens last 17 years?

10 thoughts on “Minor news from this past year”

  1. I bought a new microwave when I moved in to this house, 18 & a half years ago. It’s still going strong, even though it’s a lower category than is noted on most packaging.

    Admittedly, it doesn’t get much use, beyond warming up the occasional ready meal or rice side dish…

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    I am surprised they got the signals confused. I mean, the microwave always ends with that >ding<

    I guess Australians just aren't that bright. Must be the convict DNA.

  3. Wasn’t Parkes the one in The Dish? [googoogoogoogoogle] Why yes, it was. I’m sure sheep are involved somehow. And beer. Possibly dancing.

  4. @SMFS

    Depends.. how’s the chin on the scientist in question? a diminished presence of such would strongly indicate Pom ancestry, not Convict.

  5. When I refitted my kitchen I considered buying a fancy microwave with grill and oven but decided I would wait until the old one broke. I am still waiting, that old basic microwave has kept on going for over 30 years now.

  6. I find this hard to believe as Parkes is the jewel in the crown of the Southern Observatories and the problems with microwave ovens (even causing wifi cutouts is well known).

    The Dish is bloody funny though and as a consequence I might well watch that this afternoon as opposed to the planned viewing of Casino Royale.

  7. My parents still have the microwave they purchased in 1985 and it still works. I’ve had 5 microwaves in the last 7 years.

    I know it’s been said before that as economies progress fewer raw materials are needed. I really wonder if that is actually true as none of the consumer grade electrons I can buy today seem to last more than 5 years when the items made in the primitive 70’s would last for years+. Does recycling really make up for the disposable tat we have to deal with now?

  8. I remember one famous case of early particle tracking test. The grad student cannot quantified the spin on the electron unless his professor is in the same room. Turns out that his professor is a heavy smoker who while not smoking still walk around with plenty of thing that contaminates things, which in this case allows for the tracking to work.

  9. Bloke in Costa Rica

    The magnetron in a microwave is really hard to break. If one apparently dies it’s usually a heat sensor that goes, which can be replaced. But a brand new oven is £50 these days, so it’s hardly worth it. My Daewoo microwave has been going about 13 years now and seems to be fine.

  10. Dear Mr Worstall

    I vaguely recall reading about errant kitchen signals interfering with a radio telescope many years ago. Memory says it was in Australia, and it was tracked down because the signal generally happened around lunchtime.

    Could be a different telescope. I think they have more than one.


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