8/15/2008

It Also Has A Series Of Tubes

So, I stupidly left my wallet in the car a few weeks back, and it sat there for two days, because I also rode in someone else's car up to Lake Tahoe for the weekend. While the lack of cash, ATM cards, and ID did put a minor crimp in my style, I was able to coast on the understanding of others and pay back my debts Sunday afternoon. However, sitting in a locked car, in Sacramento, in July, for two days, did not do wonders for the plastic in my wallet.

Turns out the credit cards were OK; only my Oakland library card and Mills College student ID card need replacing. They kind of melted into each other, rendering them all warped and shit. Like any other American, I turned to the Internet to figure out how to replace my broken cards, which is where I learned that my student ID is, in fact, more high-tech than I had thought.

The ID is also used as a "key card" to access residence halls, some apartment buildings and the public computer labs in the Lucie Stern and CPM buildings. The card contains computer chips and radio antennae, so it is important to keep it flat, treat it gently and never punch a hole in the ID card.

[Via Mills College Administrative Services.]


First of all, the plural of "antenna" when referring to an aerial or other device used to broadcast or receive radio signals is antennas. To quote from the April 1961 issue of Word Study: "The biological scientist will insist that the creatures have antennae; an electronics technician writes about the antennas of a microwave installation."

More importantly, however, that's totally awesome! I didn't know that this whole time, the tiny plastic card in my wallet had, like, radio antennas on it. Or in it, or something. I could use it to, like, radio for help if I crash-landed in the Mojave Desert. And it has computer chips, too! These could almost undoubtedly be used to decode top-secret Soviet transmissions from behind the Iron Curtain. I'm like James fucking Bond over here.

That got me thinking. What else can my student ID card do?

(There's no sound on these videos. You can watch them at work!)

It Slices, It Dices
video

No Door Can Keep The ID Out
video

Just Like In The Movies, Or The Ladies Room At Most Nightclubs
video

Turns out the card is a little too warped to make those rails as straight as they should be. But still, this little card is far more powerful than I had initially imagined. Now I have to figure out how to unlock the potential of its computer chips. And antennae!

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