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Strawberry Pop-Tart Blow-Torches (1994) (pmichaud.com)
109 points by tarboreus on Aug 13, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 32 comments

"At this point, the researchers also realized that the heat could inadvertently melt the adhesive cellophane and cause the flaming SPTs to suddenly eject from the toaster. Unfortunately, this did not occur."


Reminds me of the stinkymeat project [0] for some reason.

Sweet memories from a more playful online experience, and probably part of the reason I turned vegan.

[0] http://www.stinkymeat.net/stinkymeat/day1/

90s web was a weird weird place and this was a truly disgusting project in many ways. One of my earliest memories of something turning into a "meme", there were t-shirts being sold referencing it at one point.

I think an excellent use of someone's time would be to curate a website that corrals as such old/classic 'project' webpages and protoblogs.

I would love to spend hours clicking around on the twenty-years-past internet of my youth.

I particularly miss an old game called Vagabonds Quest; essentially just a perl chatroom with basic DnD classes/leveling built in for competition.

If the site layouts and design weren't clue enough on how old this is, the high res photo links are 640x480 pixels!

Surprisingly, in this context, it's a good thing. I'm not sure I would be able to stand those photos in >1 megapixel size.

... what on Earth did I just read?

Well that was an adventure.

On a related note, you can make a thermal lance [1] that can cut steel out of bacon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9dskxN10N0

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_lance

This is also a classic, grapes in the microwave: http://pmichaud.com/grape/

I love how well written, yet utterly inane this piece is!

The toaster disposal picture really got me chuckling... Just the fact that they felt the need to evidence it lying by the side of a trash can. And how observant neighbours probably would have eventually connected the black smoke with the defunct appliance.

In the "Figure 5. Extinguising the SPT" photo, you can see in the toaster reflection that the experimenter appears to be barefoot! Not recommended when playing with fire.


Luckily the regulators were on the case. The researchers received a stern warning for their OSHA violation:


From Al von Ruff of the Dangerous Projects Team

> The response to my Strawberry Pop Tart article has been overwhelming. In October 1994 alone it's been accessed more than 2000 times.

The web was a much different place in 1994 :-)

And yet, note the clean typography, responsive design, semantic markup, and fast page load times. ;)

I think almost everyone on the web in 1994 hit his page!

I used this as an example for my public speaking class in college in '94. I also passed out a Pop-Tart (in a baggie) to every person in the class. Wow, memories.

It fills me with happiness that this remains on the Internet.

Fun fact. The author of this was also one of the primary developers and architects behind Perl 6 for many years. He's a really great guy.

Tying together two recent HN submissions. This one, and the submission on Ali Wong wherein someone linked to Seinfeld explaining how he developed his Pop-Tart joke:


"to waste this much time on something that stupid, that felt good to me"

Did he repeat the experiment to see if it applies to all Pop-Tarts, or is it unique to the composition of the Strawberry variety?

Here's the original article by Dave Barry from 2013 mentioned in the linked article.



Whoops — thank you.

Shouldn't the heating element of the toaster shut off after the cycle regardless of the ability to eject? And/or have some thermal cutoff? Otherwise, seems like a major safety flaw, Pop Tart or not.

The handle is a switch to the heating element. If the lever is jammed, the poptart won't eject and the toaster keeps running.

Not good defensive engineering, but normally you don't jam the lever either.

That's science baby!

Man, take me back to when the internet meant squeezing ~a dozen paragraphs out of setting some food on fire. Those were really the days.


Sorry, forgot about that convention.

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