Jordan Suchow came to three rapid-fire conclusions as he watched his Macintosh laptop plummet toward the floor. First, in approximately 300 milliseconds he was going to be in a heap of trouble—the machine had been given to him by his thesis adviser, George Alvarez of Harvard University. Second, hoping against all hope, he decided that Harvard could probably afford to buy him a new computer. Third, he realized that the most important observation of his life was unfolding right in front of him as his laptop accelerated toward the parquet: the onscreen doughnut that he had programmed to scintillate appeared to have stopped doing so.