Participants interacted with a female confederate who ostensibly accidentally dropped either a tampon or hair clip out of her handbag. Dropping the tampon led to lower evaluations of the confederate’s competence, decreased liking for her, and a marginal tendency to avoid sitting close to her.
The universe has not been built to scale—
everything is bigger or smaller than
it seems: the sea, the hole, a ship, a sail,
your line, the hook, your heart—that’s where the nail
of desire drives deep. Sorrow can span
a universe that is not built to scale
On May 21, 1946, physicist Louis Slotin and seven other Los Alamos personnel were in a Los Alamos laboratory conducting an experiment to verify the exact point at which a subcritical mass (core) of fissile material could be made critical by the positioning of neutron reflectors. The test was known as “tickling the dragon’s tail” for its extreme risk. It required the operator to place two half-spheres of beryllium (a neutron reflector) around the core to be tested and manually lower the top reflector over the core via a thumb hole on the top. As the reflectors were manually moved closer and farther away from each other, scintillation counters measured the relative activity from the core. Allowing them to close completely could result in the instantaneous formation of a critical mass and a lethal power excursion. Under Slotin’s unapproved protocol, the only thing preventing this was the blade of a standard flathead screwdriver, manipulated by the scientist’s other hand.