To combat these problems, in the mid-1980s my friends and I somehow learned this secret: if we took out the cartridge, blew in it, and reinserted it, it worked. And if it didn’t work the first time, it eventually worked, on the second or fifth or tenth time. But looking back on it, I wondered: did that blowing actually help? And if it did…why? Was dust the culprit, and I was blowing it out of the cartridge? I spoke with several experts (who insisted they were not experts, despite their backgrounds) to find out.