Where there's smoke there's soot

I have written about the burn-fest around IIT elsewhere.

Where do you think all that smoke goes? To the lungs of animals and people, for sure, but apart from escalating asthma and respiratory distress, they show no other visible signs.

We clean our fiber-glass window screens every few weeks. One wipe deposits a handful of black gunk on the dustcloth.

Here is an air filter from my office PC only two weeks after installation. It was powder-white when it was installed.

Most computers in IIT die because the fan chokes up with soot and stops turning, which overheats the works. Or the soot (which is largely carbon and a good conductor) bridges tracks on PCBs and connectors. If you insert a new PCI card into your four-year-old motherboard (how uncool!), the chances of a poor contact and malfunction are about even. Thanks to the sacrifices of many air filters like the one above, my PC has been running since 1999, when I joined IIT.

My home computer has a great Antec cabinet with a built-in air filter, which I have reinforced with one more layer given our ambience. Here is the filter opened out only three weeks after a thorough soap-water clean.

A few more shots are shown with different lighting conditions to highlight the volume of soot and grime on the filters.