And if we could harness the nerd-power of all the people who worked out the resistor values, we could really do something... hang on - Obama wants to go the the asteroids...
Re. magic smoke, the truth of course is that all electronics is powered by magic smoke. If the smoke gets out, the circuit will stop working, hence the "smoke test" - turn it on, and check for leaking smoke.
Once upon a time, I wrote test specifications for military electronics (where everything had to be testable, and tested, with a paper trail to prove it). For one piece of equipment the first test was "Switch unit on. Diode #1 shall not be ejected across the room." (On several units, an LED had been inserted backwards and tended to explode when voltage was applied).