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wd-40, grimsby minster, clock towers

A can of WD-40 and historic Grimsby Minster in eastern England.

It’s hard to imagine an era when we couldn’t tell the time by checking our smartphone or wristwatch. But before a watch was even a thing, cities had bell towers that would bong every hour, on the hour, so the town’s folk knew the time.

During the Industrial Revolution, things became more technologically advanced, and clock towers popped up in public places so nobody was late to work.

Twelve years ago, at 12:02, the clock in the central tower at Grimsby Minster in eastern England stopped working. The church dates back to the 12th century and the central tower was added in 1365.

A group of experts that worked on the restoration of London's Big Ben came out to the church and said that it would require scaffolding to get the old clock back in order and the cost would be somewhere between £40,000 ($53,250) and £50,000 ($66,600).


Grimsby Minster.

via Wikimedia Commons

The church feared it would have to throw a massive fundraiser to get enough money to fix its historic clock. However, two guys that work on the church’s bells had a different idea. Rick Haywood, 47, and Jay Foley, 15, were performing routine maintenance on the bells when they decided to give the clock a look.

“We did not think we could do any more damage,” Haywood told The Sun. “We found various dead pigeons gumming up the bearings. Some of the bearings were very dry.”

Foley believes that the clock stopped running because of its age and the fact that its gears were “very dry” and “were not in the right alignment.”

“The minutes, hours, and seconds all have separate sections, which were out of order,” Foley added. “We got the dead pigeons out and it slowly ticked along after we greased it and cleaned it out.”

“We gave it grease and WD-40 and managed to get it running,” Haywood said.

The difference in cost to the church was miraculous. It could have spent tens of thousands of pounds to get the clock running, but all it cost was £6 for two cans of WD-40, and the labor charges for Haywood and Foley.

The workers say the clock runs about two minutes slow because it took a little time to get everything aligned after they looked at their smartphones. The pair are proud of their work and glad they could save the minster a few quid.

“The church had one or two engineers from big clock companies and they were starting at £40-50,000 to get it running again. We saved them at least £40,000 so I am hoping for a meal invite,” Haywood said.

The church’s warden couldn't be more pleased with the duo’s fine work. “It’s amazing because you would not believe how much hassle you get when a church clock is not working,” he said.

I don’t think there’s anything in the Bible about always asking for a second opinion after getting a quote. But it’s sure to be a lesson taught at Grimsby Minster for the foreseeable future.

via FIRST

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Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

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1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

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The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

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