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This is a question Failed Projects

You start off with the best of intentions, but through raging incompetence, ineptitude or the plain fact that you're working in IT, things go terribly wrong and there's hell to pay. Tell us about the epic failures that have brought big ideas to their knees. Or just blame someone else.

(, Thu 3 Dec 2009, 14:19)
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Pre-Compost Re-Post
I intend to tell the story of my compost heap shortly, but beforehand I thought I'd whet your appetite with a classic* from Pointless Experiments
*May not be a classic.
Solar Cooker: Budget Edition
A couple of years ago, I was living in a flat which was basically a loft conversion at the top of a house. The only upside to this claustrophobic, 4-bedroom dump was that we had access to the roof via a skylight and a ladder.

Now when the sun shone on this (flat) roof, it got very hot - far too hot to stand on barefoot. This gave me a daft idea.

I'd heard about third-world countries being given "solar cookers" - basically a big round mirror, into the centre of which you put your food and point the whole thing at the sun. The sun's rays are thus focussed on the food and this heats it up.

Now I obviously didn't have access to such a mirror, so I took the opposite approach - if I want to focus this solar energy, why not use a lens?

Well, I didn't have a lens, either. What I did have was some tin foil, a pint glass and a sausage.

Result: after 30 minutes of sitting on this piece of tin foil and under an upturned pint glass, the sausage hadn't cooked at all. It had begun to sweat a bit, but that was the limit of my solar-powered culinary achievement.

I abandoned this experiment and put the grill on instead. Oh, well.
(, Mon 7 Dec 2009, 14:58, closed)

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