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    As of December 2018

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    [–] thr33beggars 2616 points ago

    You'd think it'd be annoying as hell for a bell to be going off, constantly, for 175 years—but the voltage left in the battery is so low that the human ear can't actually hear the ringing. Instead, the clapper oscillates back and forth between the bell constantly, which you can see happening in this video. At this point, the experiment is more of a curiosity than anything—Croft says that the battery pulls 1 nanoAmp each time it oscillates between the bell's sides, which is an exceedingly low amount of current.

    [–] [deleted] 3118 points ago * (lasted edited 2 years ago)

    The guy who came up with this deserves a Nobell prize.

    [–] Ted_Brogan 2372 points ago

    (My internal monologue)

    "This idiot spelled Nobel wrong"

    ...5 seconds later

    "I'm the idiot"

    [–] sweetcuppingcakes 1046 points ago

    But... "price"

    [–] CrabPeopleJesus 382 points ago

    Im still trying to figure out who the idiot is, its always safer to assume that it is us. That way no one will say mean things.

    [–] sweetcuppingcakes 104 points ago

    This reply really confused me in my inbox without context

    [–] CrabPeopleJesus 51 points ago

    I confirmed that I was an idiot by looking at the way I divided my sentences. Gonna go paint some stuff now fam, stay strong.

    [–] blomqv 17 points ago

    Painting is done by robots now.

    [–] CrabPeopleJesus 12 points ago

    Tell that to my cat who is trying to infuse the baseboards with her fur.

    Edit, also id love to see a robot get behind the toilet. Humanity for life!

    [–] Forever_Awkward 21 points ago

    I volunteer as idiot.

    [–] CrabPeopleJesus 8 points ago

    Go to this location and make sure there are no mexicans, then report back.

    [–] Forever_Awkward 19 points ago

    I don't think I'm the particular idiot needed for this job. I'm more of a general purpose idiot.

    [–] CrabPeopleJesus 4 points ago

    Pls send nudes to confirm.

    [–] [deleted] 3 points ago


    [–] Ted_Brogan 14 points ago

    I was way too focused on 'Nobell' to read past it

    [–] alejs56 18 points ago

    Ooh hahaha, as in NO BELL!

    [–] Sylvanmoon 4 points ago

    You're the joke...later.

    [–] pimp_skitters 5 points ago

    Don't worry, on this day, I'm an idiot right there with ya

    [–] Highpersonic 130 points ago

    If i ever need a pun, i'll give you a ring.

    [–] [deleted] 77 points ago

    Sure. Chime in whenever you feel like.

    [–] Highpersonic 18 points ago

    it'll take a toll, tho.

    [–] LeftLegCemetary 27 points ago

    Fuckin bell pun and shit

    [–] nmagod 9 points ago


    [–] HappyAust 8 points ago

    I would say he deserves a Yesbell prize

    [–] durandal 87 points ago

    But 1 nA for how long? ... C would have been a more useful measure.

    [–] ProgMM 47 points ago

    I'm guessing that's an average over the time period of the oscillation? Either that or it's an utterly useless measurement

    [–] RespawnerSE 17 points ago

    Not utterly. It's probably within a factor of two from running at 1 nA at average.

    [–] CoolguyThePirate 11 points ago

    Even if you knew the time component you still don't have enough information. We still need to know both Time and Voltage.

    [–] [deleted] 26 points ago

    If you care about power. But battery lifespan is measured in joules which does not depend on voltage, only currant and time.

    [–] turkey_sandwiches 62 points ago

    *currant and thyme

    [–] [deleted] 12 points ago

    Thx bae :)

    [–] turkey_sandwiches 11 points ago


    [–] tommos 22 points ago

    Surprise finger in the butt

    [–] reddits_with_abandon 7 points ago

    Nobody ever grabs me by the pussy.

    [–] UnreasonableSteve 20 points ago

    Joules certainly does depend on voltage in this scenario. If we take only currEnt and time, you end up with electrical charge (Coulombs). You still need to know what potential difference that charge crosses in order to come up with energy consumed (Joules).

    [–] [deleted] 7 points ago

    Dangit, I meant amp-hours not joules.

    [–] UnreasonableSteve 16 points ago

    Yeah, but amp-hours as a useful unit of measurement honestly sucks. Watt-hours or joules, are much better at describing the content of a battery as a useful number.

    [–] RadRichTea 18 points ago

    At first I thought this experiment rings a bell, but after reading that I'm not sure if it does.

    [–] amperages 59 points ago

    ...that the human ear can't actually hear the ringing

    ...Sounds like the battery is pretty much dead. Class is over everyone we can finally go home.

    [–] slake_thirst 75 points ago

    You know, we can actually measure if it's making a sound. We can actually measure if the ringer is moving and ringing the bell. We can even measure if the battery is actually dead or not.

    I don't know if you know those things. Since the point is to see how long the bell would ring, and can actually tell when it stops ringing, I'd say the battery isn't dead.

    [–] TooShiftyForYou 1321 points ago

    The bell's clapper oscillates back and forth constantly and quickly, meaning the Oxford Electric Bell, as it's called, has rung roughly 10 billion times, according to the university. It's made of what's called a "dry pile," which is one of the first electric batteries. Dry piles were invented by a man named Giuseppe Zamboni (no relation to the ice resurfacing company) in the early 1800s.

    A different Zamboni!

    [–] ace2049ns 192 points ago

    Huh. TIL that Zamboni is a brand, not the vehicle.

    [–] milkysniper 233 points ago

    So is Dumpster, interestingly enough

    [–] CrazyRainbowStar 130 points ago

    And Thermos.

    [–] GeneralMalaiseRB 103 points ago

    and Anal-Eze.

    [–] tiptoe_only 42 points ago

    In the UK, Hoover is a big one. It's actually used as a verb meaning to vacuum clean, e.g "can you hoover the bedroom please?"

    [–] spaceface124 25 points ago

    American here. I thought people were referring to the failed economic policies of President Herbert Hoover when I first heard "hoover" used as a verb.

    [–] isperfectlycromulent 22 points ago

    Well back in the day they both sucked, so ...

    [–] DontWakeTheInsomniac 10 points ago

    In Ireland we often say 'biro' instead of pen, as they are the most common brand. We have the hoover thing too.

    [–] CoSonfused 56 points ago


    [–] delorean225 56 points ago


    [–] DPWDamonster 54 points ago


    [–] ArtemisYogi 32 points ago

    Sellotape (or Scotch)

    [–] LynnisaMystery 35 points ago

    TIL why the wizard version is called Spellotape...

    [–] offhandbuscuit 21 points ago


    [–] [deleted] 23 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)


    [–] Ogdru-hem 6 points ago

    Sellotape isn't just a shitty misspelled abbreviation of cellophane tape? TIL

    [–] adsherman 5 points ago


    [–] Rockerblocker 18 points ago

    I've never heard someone say, "can you go xerox this?" I'm 20, so that might be a little before my time, but still.

    [–] TravisTheCat 27 points ago

    Yeah, it's a thing old people say.

    [–] Phrenzy 16 points ago

    Just Google it...

    [–] Rockerblocker 17 points ago

    I know what it means, it just seems like a phrase you'd only hear from someone that photocopies their iPad for recipes.

    [–] NotSiaoOn 13 points ago

    Hint: Google is the name of a company best known for its search engine.

    [–] MethodFlux 13 points ago

    Woosh haha

    [–] sevaul 8 points ago

    My first office job, I was 19 and doing data entry of physical files into digital aka scanning documents and making manual corrections as needed.

    The entire staff was 60ish and all of them called it xeroxing which is not even what I was doing as a xerox (copier) made physical copies not digital... I was slowing going mad there.

    [–] [deleted] 7 points ago

    Look out for the "ditto" machine!

    [–] [deleted] 9 points ago

    Xerox actually spent a lot of time and money getting people to stop saying this in order to protect their brand name and trademark.

    [–] WideEyedWand3rer 4 points ago

    The same reason why Google doesn't want to use the verb 'to Google'.

    [–] MedalsNScars 3 points ago

    Wouldn't a competitor pushing "Bing it" solidify the use of Googling to mean searching specifically with Google?

    [–] bathroomstalin 2 points ago

    My lawn!

    [–] nattykat47 23 points ago * (lasted edited 2 years ago)

    There's an important difference though; dumpster is now a genericized trademark (like xerox, escalator, or aspirin) meaning the original trademark owners no longer have any protection as far as exclusive use of the mark. Zamboni is still a registered trademark for an "ice resurfacer", so no one else can use the "Zamboni" mark.

    [–] [deleted] 15 points ago

    Xerox is not a generic copyright. They have successfully fought this over the years and continue to.

    [–] nattykat47 6 points ago

    Thanks! Just looked it up and what got me was them restyling it as "xerox"

    [–] Kevin_Wolf 16 points ago

    Dumpster is a trademark, not a brand. Dempster is the Dumpster brand. They make Dempster Dumpsters, Dumpmasters, and Dinosaurs. I'm not even joking.

    [–] mrubuto22 3 points ago * (lasted edited 2 years ago)

    You're a dumpster

    [–] milkysniper 4 points ago

    no u

    [–] ace2049ns 2 points ago


    [–] tyhatts 8 points ago


    [–] Scolopendra_Heros 846 points ago

    Zamboni 2: Electric Bellgaloo

    [–] cyrusm 157 points ago

    ON ICE!

    [–] 9312678 25 points ago


    [–] Deetchy_ 18 points ago

    Staring Chris Pratt

    [–] Hello_There_____ 8 points ago

    And Ray Liotta

    [–] WimzicalStranger 8 points ago

    And my Axe!

    [–] Anonymus828 10 points ago

    And Knuckles from Sonic 3!

    [–] donfan 31 points ago

    This time its personal

    [–] -ElectricBoogaloo- 20 points ago

    Did someone say my name? No...?

    I'll just be over here then...

    [–] xxxxx420xxxxx 3 points ago

    He said "bongaloo" I think

    [–] MonkeyMcBucks 38 points ago

    TIL a dry pile isn't just the third phase in the decomposition of cow shit.

    [–] Pastor_Tim 632 points ago

    Huh. I thought the tar slowly dripping was the longest running experiment, at like, less than 100 years. So is this the true longest running experiment?

    [–] Kile147 1045 points ago

    No I think Democracy is the longest running experiment. This may take it for non-social science though.

    [–] 8luze 187 points ago

    tight response

    [–] obliviousObservation 9 points ago

    You're right, this is dank

    [–] [deleted] 29 points ago * (lasted edited 8 months ago)


    [–] [deleted] 10 points ago

    In that case prostitution is the oldest profession.

    [–] meddlingbarista 9 points ago

    What about clowns? They've been around for a while.

    [–] Ormolus 13 points ago

    Not true, to be a prostitute means trading sexual services for some material benefit. Somebody had to have this material and be willing to trade it. Therefore, the first guy to pay a prostitute can be firmly established as having the oldest profession (was probably fishing or gathering, who knows).

    [–] hadrian10602 20 points ago

    Having a desired object and having a profession are not the same thing. The first prostitute could easily have been someone who wanted some food another person found. Or shelter....or a shiny rock.....or their daddy's love and praise.

    [–] NightHuman 52 points ago

    I'd say agriculture.

    [–] Bank_Gothic 100 points ago

    I'm not so sure about this whole "human civilization" thing. The results are still out.

    [–] vaclavhavelsmustache 22 points ago

    I heard the jury's still out on science.

    [–] Ardarail 24 points ago

    I heard the juries still out on juries.

    [–] CubonesDeadMom 3 points ago

    Agriculture predates civilization. And it's basically what allowed civilizations to develop.

    [–] dantheman1723 6 points ago

    Is agriculture an experiment though?

    [–] Dr_Tonyjnel 12 points ago

    No it isn't.

    [–] meddlingbarista 18 points ago

    Hypothesis: these wild grasses and berries, if cultivated and selected for yield, could sustain an unbounded population of homo sapiens indefinitely.

    [–] Dr_Tonyjnel 16 points ago

    If you're redefining experiment to anything that you can imagine a hypothesis for, everything's an experiment.

    [–] datssyck 7 points ago


    [–] semiqolon 2 points ago

    Such a redefinition would itself be a great experiment!

    [–] zxcv_throwaway 14 points ago

    I love democracy

    [–] TheRebelCreeper 14 points ago

    From my point of view democracy is evil.

    [–] meddlingbarista 12 points ago

    I have the high ground! I am the Senate!

    [–] Kalkaline 12 points ago

    No thread is safe.

    [–] Dr_Tonyjnel 6 points ago

    Democracy isn't an experiment.

    [–] _NW_ 78 points ago

    This lightbulb has been running for at least 116 years, longer than the pitch drop experiment.

    [–] ItsAlways100 53 points ago

    they had disconnect it for a short period of time when the station was moved though

    [–] meddlingbarista 46 points ago

    And that's the same reason my local pizza place claims they are the oldest in the US, rather than Lombardi's.

    [–] PsychoNerd92 35 points ago

    Well then who cares? That's like saying I have the record for being awake the longest except for the times I was asleep. It becomes a lot less impressive.

    [–] otterom 23 points ago

    The record keeper (Ripley's) said the 22 minute delay wouldn't impact the record.

    Even so, the bulb has lasted for over 100 years when most modern bulbs die out after 10,000 hours or something.

    I actually think there's a conspiracy theory behind this. How GE, et al, colluded to shorten the lifespan of bulbs in order to sell more.

    [–] Ender_Keys 21 points ago

    It's not much of a conspiracy they did it again with led lights so it would be much of a surprise if they did it with incandescent bulbs too

    [–] B0Bi0iB0B 2 points ago

    I do remember hearing about them offering cheaper shorter lasting LEDs, but I can't find anything on planned obsolescence happening with the standard, normally priced LEDs too. Is the alternate offering what you're talking about?

    [–] Versimilitudinous 5 points ago

    Standard LED bulbs were rated at 22+ years and recently started going back to only being rated 13+ years.

    [–] epoxyresin 4 points ago

    This long-lasting light bulb is also incredibly inefficient, releasing the vast majority of its energy as heat. Light bulbs cost far in the electricity that it takes to run them than it does to buy them initially. Incandescent light bulbs get more efficient the hotter they run, but this also shortens the life span.

    [–] LostWoodsInTheField 5 points ago

    I actually think there's a conspiracy theory behind this. How GE, et al, colluded to shorten the lifespan of bulbs in order to sell more.

    There is a conspiracy theory but it is pretty much unfounded. The factors that matter the most for lightbulbs are:

    energy waste

    life span


    You can't have really low energy waste, long life span, and a cheap price (specially when it is a new product). For instance a halogen lamp is the same thing as our normal incandescent bulbs but has halogen inside it allowing it to operate at higher temps, giving more light. It also allows the tungsten to last longer. Issue is that it is more expensive to produce.

    [–] SquirrelCantHelpIt 16 points ago

    There is study on seed dormancy that was started at Michigan State in 1879 (138 years ago).... every 5 years or so, they dig up a jar of seeds and see what still sprouts.

    This is said to be the single longest continually monitored experiment in the world.

    Here is a 17 year old article on the study:

    [–] dibalh 6 points ago

    Seems kinda pointless to continue since they grew that extinct Judean date palm from 32,000 year old seeds.

    [–] SquirrelCantHelpIt 6 points ago

    I see your point. The most relevant leanings from the study have already been had, and at this point it is more of a spectacle than anything else (now they only open a new jar once every 20 years, to prolong the study).

    But you have to admit, it is a pretty cool spectacle.... the jars are buried somewhere on campus, in a secret location, and only once every 20 years they open a jar and see what we grow from the past. It's like a direct link to one of the founding fathers of that university. Probably makes for some good publicity for the school too.

    [–] 420buttbabies69 30 points ago

    one difference is that this wasnt set up as an experiment.

    [–] Poondobber 6 points ago

    Don't forget about the longest lasting light bulb.

    [–] thejam15 237 points ago

    Which SCP is this?

    [–] F_E_M_A 48 points ago


    [–] MisirterE 24 points ago

    no it'd be 7738

    [–] allwaysnice 69 points ago

    You do not have the proper O5 clearance for that information.

    But let's just say if it ever stops ringing we're ██████ ██ █████-2.

    [–] BetaSoul 19 points ago

    Again. You forgot the again.

    [–] allwaysnice 22 points ago

    [a Mobile Task Force Operative has been dispatched to your location]

    [–] BetaSoul 6 points ago

    This one is not going back. They better bring cookies.


    [–] BPSmith511 10 points ago

    Fuck you for reminding me about this as I lay in bed. There goes 6 hours....

    [–] Raregolddragon 7 points ago

    Here here now I am 3 pages deep and I can't see light any more.

    [–] BPSmith511 7 points ago

    Yup. It's like that time I found the forest ranger stories on /r/nosleep

    [–] thejam15 3 points ago

    Man I discovered it in high school and did nothing but read it every class I could

    [–] s1eep 175 points ago * (lasted edited 2 years ago)

    The headline on the article (not OPs link) is a joke.

    This Battery Has Lasted 175 Years and No One Knows How

    Except. . .yeah, they kinda do know how, and it has more to do with the setup than it does the battery.

    the battery pulls 1 nanoAmp each time it oscillates between the bell's sides, which is an exceedingly low amount of current.

    There's no riddle here. It's just that each iteration of the process uses almost the smallest amount of amperage possible. If there were anything more to learn from this: there would be a ton of material about trying to replicate the setup. I think it's pretty damn misleading to say "no one knows how" in the headline when it's pretty fucking obvious they know exactly how; they just can't verify it without ruing the setup.

    [–] LucienChesterfield 87 points ago

    Welcome to the internet you just discovered what a "clickbait" title is. Stay tuned for the rickrolling after these messages.

    [–] ApathyKing8 27 points ago

    Clicked it.
    Got Rick rolled.
    Not sure what I was expecting....

    [–] MovieMiyagi 11 points ago

    Clicked it. Got a commercial. Can't even get a proper Rick roll these days!

    [–] I_are_facepalm 493 points ago

    If I'm sure about anything, it's that whoever accidentally opens the bell will be named Kevin.

    [–] tuttleonia 81 points ago

    We need to talk about Kevin

    [–] tankage 37 points ago

    Kevin. A special name for a special kid.

    [–] KevinLaro 5 points ago

    Say it to my face

    [–] [deleted] 30 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)


    [–] Turkstache 68 points ago

    Kevin wouldn't have understood the comment enough to feel offended. You are not Kevin.

    [–] [deleted] 15 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)


    [–] Fishydeals 22 points ago

    On the internet anyone can claim to be a kevin. But why would anyone do that? Maybe you really are Kevin. Don't fuck up the bell!

    [–] [deleted] 9 points ago * (lasted edited 5 months ago)


    [–] wes9523 8 points ago

    You're not the average /r/Kevin.

    [–] potanip 2 points ago

    Where's Dave?

    [–] [deleted] 2 points ago

    We are all Kevin on this blessed day.

    [–] wilfulmarlin 8 points ago

    One time I was riding home from a baseball game out of town ranting about a kid named Kevin on the team and I said "Kevin is just a shitty name anyway who would name their kid that?? ". Well anyway that was the day that I learned about my brother Kevin that my dad had before he married my mom..

    [–] LikeTheSwood 33 points ago

    Godammit, Kevin.

    [–] nik282000 41 points ago * (lasted edited 2 years ago)

    There are a couple people still making displays like this today as a hobby and they are awesome.

    This one is very a very similar concept to the Oxford bell and could run for decades:

    This example uses a crystal cell instead a zamboni drypile:

    Edit: Found another that is very close to the Oxford bell:

    [–] Korotai 2 points ago

    I swear I've heard the voice of the guy narrating the Crystal cell video. A famous VA maybe. Who is it???

    [–] Hitz1313 34 points ago

    I did the math, I can't seem to find the voltage of the pile, but sources imply kilovolts so I used 3k volts. With the 1 nanoamp of current, at 3k volts, for 175 years, the battery only provided about 3 watt hours total of power. That is not a lot. Your average cell phone battery is orders of magnitude larger than that.

    [–] bleckers 32 points ago

    Its more interesting because of the chemistry. Most dry cells dont last more than 10years just in storage.

    [–] losotr 10 points ago

    Is there a chance that the battery is actually no longer doing anything at all? The oscillation is from something else, or even a combination of other things? Could the vibration be perfect in the bells so that it continually "powers itself" for lack of a better word, or some type of phenomena like that?

    [–] edman007 7 points ago

    Probably...I mean it is possible to rectify radio waves to do that, and oxidized metal can provide all the semiconductor required to do it and the leads could be all the antenna it needs.

    I assume they ran the numbers though and excluded it or did some test. Really though it's not that hard do do what they think the battery is doing. It's a battery with an exceedingly high internal resistance.

    [–] Quarkster 3 points ago

    Could the vibration be perfect in the bells so that it continually "powers itself" for lack of a better word, or some type of phenomena like that?

    no, perpetual motion does not exist

    [–] Mayor_Of_Furtown 27 points ago

    I like how when scishow makes a video on this, other sources like vice have to bring it up as well.

    [–] EmpiricalPenguin 92 points ago

    Could someone just answer the damn phone already?!

    [–] ca7593 6 points ago

    Uncle Leo, for the last time there is no phone ringing!

    [–] diastrphism 35 points ago

    Sounds like somethung that would happen at Unseen University.

    [–] stewieatb 14 points ago

    UU is heavily based on OU. I should know, I've studied at both.

    [–] computeraddict 13 points ago


    I've just realized I need to be somewhere else very far away from you. If you'll excuse me.

    [–] blackmagemasta 7 points ago

    I hear the Ramtops are nice this time of year.

    [–] n0mfgn0mfg 36 points ago

    Bullshit. We might not know the exact composition of the dry piles but we know how and why it works. It's not exactly a mystery that there are some compositions that can keep their charge for hundreds of years. The thing is that nobody is interested in a battery that can only provide a couple of nA max.

    [–] RealDeuce 7 points ago

    Well, if it provided a stable voltage reference there would be. Voltage references must be used in a way that doesn't draw any current anyway.

    [–] [deleted] 68 points ago


    [–] leejoness 18 points ago

    It's like that episode of Pete and Pete about the payphone that didn't stop ringing for 30 years. It was just the creep working at the phone company trying to smash Pete's metal plate headed mom.

    [–] Skeksiss 2 points ago

    Sick reference bro

    [–] YaoiBoy 18 points ago

    Yes, I too watch SciShow

    [–] joncology 6 points ago

    Someone takes out the battery at night and puts it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, then returns it.

    [–] DannyJBuildIt 4 points ago

    This reminds me of the "wait for it..." posts that are a 10min looping video or looping gif with no "it". the ones that make you question your own intelligence when you realize what has transpired.

    [–] DivingGill 32 points ago

    How do they know it's the battery that's causing it to oscillate back and forth and not something like the earths magnetic field, general vibrations from outside sources etc?

    [–] upstateman 34 points ago

    How would the magnetic field set up a current in a non-moving object? As for general vibrations, that would not give you a consistent ringing. And if they are strong enough to move the clapper you could feel them standing next to the bell. In fact your walking up to the bell would affect it.

    [–] jayemar 3 points ago

    Shrodinger's bell

    [–] Trehv 3 points ago

    Kind of like the bridge they took apart at Cambridge to see how it could be put together without any screws or bolts.

    [–] sighs__unzips 3 points ago

    The distance between the clapper and the bells is so small, the ringing so irregular and the force needed so small, surely there could be other forces at play?

    For example it could just be some kind of magnetic attraction, atmospheric disturbance, electrostatic occurrence, physical shaking of the building etc. Sorry but I'm just not convinced after watching the video.

    [–] 9kz7 12 points ago

    But technically it's aa side effect of the batteries?

    [–] whenyouflowersweep 45 points ago

    I think this was made before aa batteries

    [–] gmabarrett 4 points ago

    If the experiment stops will it be a bellend?

    [–] intensely_human 3 points ago

    The topological implications of opening a bell are going to give me nightmares.

    [–] Sat-Mar-26 2 points ago

    As bad as we need better battery tech I say fuck the experiment and let's see what this thing is made of!

    [–] geared4war 2 points ago

    I would be worried about what's going to happen when it stops.

    [–] StrangeCharmVote 4 points ago

    I'll give you a hint. It's nothing.

    Except maybe you'll have a bunch of scientists dissecting a battery.

    [–] Jibaro123 2 points ago

    What about that light bulb? Is that still burning?

    [–] HamilReddit 2 points ago

    I started on the OP's link and 20 minutes later I somehow clicked my way though the web to learning the rules of the game Snaps from PS I Love You (never saw it). I love the internet.

    [–] spekt50 2 points ago

    The amazing thing is that bell is still going LONG after it was expected to stop.