-----Original Message----- From: firstname.lastname@example.org [SMTP:email@example.com] Sent: Saturday, June 13, 1998 10:04 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Bobjones35@aol.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; YOMIJI3@aol.com; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Francois Perier Subject: Charcoal grills >Check out this guy's home page; it's quite impressive. >> >> ==================================== >> LIGHTING CHARCOAL GRILLS >> or >> WHY ENGINEERS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE... >> ===================================== >> >> Our subject today is lighting charcoal grills. One of our favorite >charcoal >> grill lighters is a guy named George Goble (really!!), a computer >person in >> the Purdue University engineering department. >> >> Each year, Goble and a bunch of other engineers hold a picnic in West >> Lafayette, Indiana, at which they cook hamburgers on a big grill. >Being >> engineers, they began looking for practical ways to speed up the >> charcoal-lighting process. "We started by blowing the charcoal with a >hair >> dryer," Goble told me in a telephone interview. "Then we figured out >that it >> would light faster if we used a vacuum cleaner." If you know >> anything about (1) engineers and (2) guys in general, you know what >happened: >> The purpose of the charcoal-lighting shifted from cooking hamburgers >to seeing >> how fast they could light the charcoal. >> >> >From the vacuum cleaner, they escalated to using a propane torch, >then an >> acetylene torch. Then Goble started using compressed pure oxygen, >which >> caused the charcoal to burn much faster, because as you >> recall from chemistry class, fire is essentially the rapid combination >of >> oxygen with a reducing agent (the charcoal). We discovered that a >long time >> ago, somewhere in the valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers >(or >> something along those lines). >> >> By this point, Goble was getting pretty good times. But in the world >of >> competitive charcoal-lighting, "pretty good" does not cut the mustard. >Thus, >> Goble hit upon the idea of using - get ready - liquid oxygen. >> This is the form of oxygen used in rocket engines; it's 295 degrees >below zero >> and 600 times as dense as regular oxygen. In terms of releasing >energy, >> pouring liquid oxygen on charcoal is the equivalent of throwing a live >> squirrel into a room containing 50 million Labrador retrievers. >> >> On Gobel's Web page (the address is http://ghg.ecn.purdue.edu/), you >can see >> actual photographs and a video of Goble using a bucket attached to a >> 10-foot-long wooden handle to dump 3 gallons of liquid oxygen (not >sold in >> stores) onto a grill containing 60 pounds of charcoal and a lit >cigarette for >> ignition. What follows is the most impressive charcoal-lighting I >have >> ever seen, featuring a large fireball that according to Goble, reached >> 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The charcoal was ready for cooking >> in - this has to be a world record - 3 seconds. >> >> There's also a photo of what happened when Goble used the same >technique on a >> flimsy $2.88 discount-store grill. All that's left is a circle of >charcoal >> with a few shreds of metal in it. "Basically, the grill vaporized," >said >> Goble. "We were thinking of returning it to the store for a refund." >> >> Looking at Goble's video and photos, I became, as an American, all >choked up >> with gratitude at the fact that I do not live anywhere near the >engineers' >> picnic site. But also, I was proud of my country for producing guys >who >> can be ready to barbecue in less time than it takes for guys in >less-advanced >> nations, to spit. >> >> Will the 3-second barrier ever be broken? Will engineers come up with >a new, >> more powerful charcoal-lighting technology? It's something for all of >us to >> ponder this summer as we sit outside, chewing our hamburgers, every >now and >> then glancing in the direction of West Lafayette, Indiana, looking for >a mushroom cloud. >> >> Engineers are like that."
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