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Will it lens? (googleblog.blogspot.com)
95 points by alexandros on Apr 10, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 18 comments

I love this insight into google culture. Really wish more companies did this and dropped the strictly-business curtain. Do you know of any companies that do this type of thing? I know Last.fm is pretty cool and blogged about their ball pit..

I've of two minds when it comes to this sort of culture. When I was younger, I loved this sort of thing (see my comment below), and I also spent 10-12 hours a day at the office. It did foster excellent relationships, however. These days, I prefer to limit my time in the office because I'd be with my family, preferably outside.

EDIT: This makes it sound like I hate my job or something. I don't. I enjoy my work. I simply enjoy my family more. I'd prefer to go to the office, work hard for 8 hours, then come home.

My ultimate dream in life is to have mine and a few others' office be next to a home-built bouldering[1] cave. If I had to have just one goal to be self-employed, I think that would be it.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouldering

The first start-up I worked for allowed me and some friends to build a wall and campus board in the space. It helped that one of the founders was a climber.

We built a small wall too, we didn't have a lot of space but we made it work. Some problems start from the bottom of the staircase:


I had a friend in grad school who wanted to build a giant parabolic reflector for Burning Man. The idea was to lay the thing out on the desert floor and then be able to melt gold, or something, at the focal point so that they could trade sun-melted trinkets with passersby.

Never made it to the prototype stage. After watching the Mythbusters try this trick, I'm kinda glad the poor guy didn't spend the time.

Fresnel lenses. Better alignment. Much more reliable.

My friends and I at MIT did this once, and it's about as much fun as you'd think it would be. My favorite trick is to try to melt a stack of pennies -- I'm not sure what actually happens, but the stack exploded, throwing half-melted pennies and melted zinc everywhere. It's still there, on the sidewalk outside my dorm.

Science is fun!

where are these molten remnants on the mit campus?

In the courtyard of Senior House...

Looks a lot like what Rob over at Cockeyed did with his Light Sharpener: http://www.cockeyed.com/incredible/solardish/dish01.shtml

The Google version looks more professional, though...

Looks as if this may be the lens they used: http://www.sciplus.com/singleItem.cfm/terms/13603/cartLogFro...

It's probably cheaper to get one from a broken projection TV.

Isn't it illegal to purposely destroy legal tender?

In general, no. Unless you do it with fraudulent intent:

Title 18 United States Code, Section 331

Whoever fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates, impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the mints of the United States, or any foreign coins which are by law made current or are in actual use or circulation as money within the United States; or Whoever fraudulently possesses, passes, utters, publishes, or sells, or attempts to pass, utter, publish, or sell, or brings into the United States, any such coin, knowing the same to be altered, defaced, mutilated, impaired, diminished, falsified, scaled, or lightened -

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

For an interesting explanation of why it is now illegal to melt pennies and nickels see:


I wonder if you can do this legally outside the US. I'm sure there's plenty of tourists with bags of US change that they can't easily take to the bank. Seems like it might be a loophole worth exploiting.

Great article. Thanks for that!

I think the sun will be able to defend itself.

Yeah, probably. They did it anyway, though, because it was fun (and who's going to miss those pennies, anyway).

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