About Me

When not at work with students, I spend my time in my room either reading, calculating something using pen and paper, or using a computer. I read almost anything: from the pornographic to the profound, although my main interests are mathematics and physics. "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." -Erasmus

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Washing machines

I'm usually not at home, even on weekends. I spend Saturdays at school tutoring my methods students (class-time is not enough!) and working with undergraduates in our research group. So I don't have much time to do the laundry.

People who never hand-washed probably don't appreciate what a miracle washing machines can be. I remember hand-washing clothes when I was much younger. We didn't have a washing machine then, so it was either hand-wash or pay someone else to do the hand-washing. It has never been my favorite work. I remember how much it hurt my back to sit down, and how stiff I felt after a say of doing the washing by hand. So it was a minor miracle when we got a washing machine.

The washing machine we had then was not automatic. You had to wait until the water reached a certain level, then close the tap manually. After letting our clothes spin in soap-water, we then had to transfer our clothes into clean water to rinse out the suds. The washing machine had no spin-dryer, so I had to squeeze the water out by hand, and then hang the clothes on the clothes-line to dry.   

It was only when I was working that my brother and I bought a fully-automatic washing machine. (It was a huge dent in our budget-- around PhP 15 K, or USD 360-- but worth it in the long run.) You put in your clothes, some soap, fabric softener, and bleach and then the washing machine will do everything. It controlled the water inflow and the drain cycles, so you only had to wait. It also has a spin-dryer, so that at the end, the clothes were partially dry.

When I do the laundry (about three times a week), I usually put my clothes in the washing machine just  before going to sleep, and then hang them out to dry as soon as I get up. Imagine what it must be like for the rest of the world. In fact, Hans Rosling has a TED talk on washing machines:

So I'm already just above the wash-line, but below the air-line.

Although I had an opportunity to see him live (he was in the Philippines a week ago, and was  scheduled  to give a talk at UP Diliman), I had to forego the opportunity in favor of doing some paperwork. I just hope that someone uploaded the talk.  

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