0260: "The Glass Necklace"

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Postby Kredal » Sat May 12, 2007 2:04 am UTC

Men are capable of incredible things when they are in pursuit of a woman's heart.


s/heart/naughty bits
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Postby aether » Sat May 12, 2007 3:19 am UTC

athelas wrote:
LE4dGOLEM SAYS: Somebody coined the term "xkcdverse". It is better than "xkcdland".


Okay.. I normally try not to criticize the moderation style of this forum, even though I think it's unnecessarily fascist, because hey it's your forum you can do whatever you want with it.

But really.. bringing a moderator's official stance to the subjective view that the made-up fan word "xkcdverse" is better than the made-up fan word "xkcdland" and actually attempting to enforce the usage of one over the other seems a bit over the top, don't you think?

Back on topic.. Fulgurite is awesome and I would totally fall in love with anyone who would be creative enough to do this.

Of course, now that xkcd's done it, it wouldn't be creative anymore and would just be nerdy. :)
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Postby The LuigiManiac » Sat May 12, 2007 3:22 am UTC

Creative? No. Unique? Yes.
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THE CAKE IS A 3.141592653589...!
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Postby aether » Sat May 12, 2007 3:28 am UTC

Okay that too

I'd probably still really like it
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Postby aldimond » Sat May 12, 2007 6:55 am UTC

Meh. All you guys are so dense. Sunday is Mother's Day! Clearly Randy is making a nice gift for his mother!
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Postby Drostie » Sat May 12, 2007 7:37 am UTC

Brucmack wrote:The problem is that, although it contains an insane amount of energy, a bolt of lightning exists for a very short period of time. So the challenge would be to create some kind of energy storage mechanism that can charge instantaneously and then gradually release the energy. Unfortunately, we don't have batteries that can do this yet :)


"Capacitors."

As regards the original idea -- One central problem is collecting the bottle afterwards, because your balloons might well be destroyed by the effort. You will want to use a bunch of helium balloons, plus a metal cable; you want to heavily insulate the cable around the point of your device, so that it won't just ionize the air around it and jump across the device. This will be heavy; but you can get a good remote-release (probably cable-baced) and stand back from relative safety and protection in some sort of home or the like.

That solves *every* major problem except for capturing the sand-bottle once the lightning strikes, since there's a good chance that it will rupture one or more of your weather balloons.

It might be possible to guide the device into a cushion or pool of water or so with a heavily insulated cable and a bungee cord meant for the purpose. I suppose that if the balloons *don't* pop you will need some sort of popping mechanism, possibly just a gun or potato cannon or something like that, to destroy the balloons and ensure the recovery.
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Shattering?

Postby phyzome » Sat May 12, 2007 8:26 pm UTC

I was more worried about the fulgurite shattering when it fell from such a height. What if it was on the portion of the string that was closest to the ground? Also, consider having a pole with a nylon rope leading down to the canister, so that if the balloon pops, the canister won't hit the ground.
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Postby Cyberax » Sat May 12, 2007 8:26 pm UTC

Additionally, I wouldn't use glass bottle - it'll most probably break from violently expanding air inside the sand.

I'd use wet sand inside a tube made from metallic mesh (you can wrap sand in paper to prevent its spilling out.

I'd also use a metallic core rod running through the center of the tube. It'll serve as a 'guide' for the discharge, so it won't jump around the tube.
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Postby LE4dGOLEM » Sat May 12, 2007 9:34 pm UTC

aether wrote:
athelas wrote:
LE4dGOLEM SAYS: Somebody coined the term "xkcdverse". It is better than "xkcdland".


Okay.. I normally try not to criticize the moderation style of this forum, even though I think it's unnecessarily fascist, because hey it's your forum you can do whatever you want with it.

But really.. bringing a moderator's official stance to the subjective view that the made-up fan word "xkcdverse" is better than the made-up fan word "xkcdland" and actually attempting to enforce the usage of one over the other seems a bit over the top, don't you think?


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Postby Belial » Sat May 12, 2007 9:46 pm UTC

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Postby bb_vb » Sat May 12, 2007 11:35 pm UTC

Cyberax wrote:Additionally, I wouldn't use glass bottle - it'll most probably break from violently expanding air inside the sand.

I'd use wet sand inside a tube made from metallic mesh (you can wrap sand in paper to prevent its spilling out.

I'd also use a metallic core rod running through the center of the tube. It'll serve as a 'guide' for the discharge, so it won't jump around the tube.


Wouldn't a metallic tube mean the current would just bypass the sand altogether? I'm thinking you'd need a completely insulated container so that you force the current through the sand. Problem is then finding something that wont melt\burn\break like plastic, wood or glass would. Perhaps a ceramic tube, but that may be hard to obtain.

Wet sand is probably a good idea. Also in order to give the canister a safe decent you could attatch a parachute to it, and just hope it doesn't get zapped.
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Postby Cyberax » Sun May 13, 2007 12:03 am UTC

Wouldn't a metallic tube mean the current would just bypass the sand altogether?

I don't think so, metallic mesh won't be able to conduct a lot of current - it'll probably vaporise. Heat of its vaporisation will help to fuse sand, the same goes for the heat from the central rod.

I'm thinking you'd need a completely insulated container so that you force the current through the sand. Problem is then finding something that wont melt\burn\break like plastic, wood or glass would. Perhaps a ceramic tube, but that may be hard to obtain.

Ceramic doesn't tolerate extreme pressures well enough.

Also, the discharge can just jump around the container with sand, in this case you won't get any fusion at all.

Wet sand is probably a good idea. Also in order to give the canister a safe decent you could attatch a parachute to it, and just hope it doesn't get zapped.

I won't worry much about container, just paint it in bright colors. You don't need to launch it more than 20-30 meters and it should be easy to find it.

Parachute is, actually, counterproductive because it can be carried off by the wind to a great distance.
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Postby Barbie » Sun May 13, 2007 12:09 am UTC

When I was 17, I made my bf at the time a SET deck. I hand-stenciled, laminated, and cut out all 88 cards myself. I used more distinct colours and symbols than the real game to make it better. I stenciled SetS onto the back of each card, so that we could say things like "hey, you wanna come over to house after school for some sets? :wink: "

He gave me some great, not to mention expensive, gifts in return, but most of them were kind of devalued by tag-line: "Yeah, the sales girl said you'd probably like it."

You can only handle so much unrequited effort. I'm holding out for someone who will make me a fulgurite necklace.
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Postby astralica » Sun May 13, 2007 12:56 am UTC

Honestly, I found it to be terribly romantic.

Anything which takes that much planning to produce would be, as would anything that requires so much power to be created. Think about what that says.

Unfortunately, one could simply buy one, a solution that still makes a pretty statement but is not near as impressive.
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Postby xooll » Sun May 13, 2007 4:31 am UTC

So, what's the tube part of the device made out of? It'd have to be a nonconducting material, but one that can take considerable heat... my first thought was glass, but hmm, we're using enough heat to make glass. Although I suppose a subtly different kind of glass might be able to take it.
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Postby voodooKobra » Sun May 13, 2007 5:03 am UTC

Anyone else feel compelled to try this?
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Postby zealo » Sun May 13, 2007 1:26 pm UTC

anyone NOT feel compelled to try this?
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Postby aether » Sun May 13, 2007 7:46 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Note to self: Aether: Possibly takes things too seriously.


My bad. I just figure when a moderator takes the effort to alter someone else's post it is meant seriously. Especially around here..
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Postby Belial » Sun May 13, 2007 7:48 pm UTC

Nah. We like to have fun with the edit button sometimes.

If it doesn't sound like "Oh me yarm COMMAND!" we're probably just fucking around.
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Tesla Coil?

Postby nevetS » Sun May 13, 2007 10:13 pm UTC

Good to know I'm not the only person who decided that it would be time well spent creating my own fulgurite (sp?).

From what I understand, the kind of sand you are using makes a difference in the coloring.

Rather than waiting around for a storm, would it be possible to zap it with a tesla coil? or something similar? If not, how does one go about simulating lightning effectively enough to do it?
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Postby JtheLetz » Sun May 13, 2007 11:38 pm UTC

Granted that it would be straying from the comic, but I think a more practical way to do this would be to have a kite tied off during a thunder storm with a metal wire running down from the kite to a bucket of sand. Loop the wire a whole hell of a lot of times inside the bucket to have slack, so even when the kite drifts up and down, the wire isn't pulled out. I couldn't just run the wire the length of the kite string, because I don't want the current to be grounded before hitting the sand. As long as the current travels into the bucket of sand, some sand will heat up enough to melt. It doesn't matter what the bucket is made of as long as it isn't a good conductor so the bolt won't arc from the wire to the bucket and bypass the contents entirely. Because it's on the ground, it will be much easier to find the glass after, and a much smaller kite will be needed because there is less load.

Questions:
1) How thick / what kind of wire should I use? Light and cheap would be ideal cause I'm gonna have to buy a lot, but I want to make sure it works
2) How high to fly the kite? More lightning travels from cloud to cloud than cloud to ground, so I want to increase the chances of a strike. However, the higher it goes, the better the chances that the kite string will break before it's struck. Also, higher --> more wire
3) How much slack to have in the wire at the bottom? I don't want the wire in the bucket to be pulled out, cause a dangling live wire (so to speak) would be a little dangerous, and wouldn't make the glass besides... This would be at least in part determined by how far up the wire is connected to the string.
4) Do I ground the wire and hope that current arcs between loops will melt glass? Or the heat of the wire itself? Or, do I not ground the wire but instead cut a hole in the bottom of the bucket and fill the bottom with iron filings and sand, to make sure I get the path I want? Maybe even mix iron filings throughout so the current doesn't arc straight to the ground from the wire and bypass the sand?
5)
CatProximity wrote:...Is that like back in 1996 when everyone would talk about going to see "Dave"...
Sounds very much like something someone told me at a party the other day. Want to go make some glass?

The next chance of rain around Boston is Wed, but I don't think thunderstorms are expected. Still, with the summer coming, I should get a chance soon...
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lightning

Postby nexterday » Mon May 14, 2007 12:36 am UTC

I feel that many of these suggestions of what materials should be used are insignificant. A common misconception is that electricity takes the path of least resistance. In fact, electricity will take all paths, just a higher percent through the least resistant one. In the case of the sand filled container, most of the lightning will travel down the wire, since it is much lower resistance than air. Once it "gets" to the container, it won't much matter what your container is made of, since such a strong current will pass through it, massive amounts of heat are guaranteed. I think the sand in a bucket idea is also a good solution, but trying to use different materials to insulate the lightning is futile, because let's be honest, if it can ionize air, it can probably go through PVC.
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Postby JtheLetz » Mon May 14, 2007 1:01 am UTC

I don't expect to fully channel the lightning or fully insulate anything, just route more charge where I want it to go - i.e., near the sand to melt it. Overall, though, would it work? Experimentation is fun, but I want results.
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Postby voodooKobra » Mon May 14, 2007 2:23 am UTC

If anyone successfully makes fulgurite, post how you did it.

Oh, and pics or it didn't happen.
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Postby computergeek6933 » Mon May 14, 2007 2:45 am UTC

A lightning bolt reaches temperatures to around 50k degrees F.

Any container would melt under those conditions.

It's a shame because I really wanted to try this..
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Postby 4=5 » Mon May 14, 2007 2:51 am UTC

Belial wrote:Nah. We like to have fun with the edit button sometimes.

If it doesn't sound like "Oh me yarm COMMAND!" we're probably just fucking around.
you know what would be cool, reset your posts to 0 and say things only by adding "PS" to other's posts, you'd be a ghost mod :D :D :D :D
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Postby Belial » Mon May 14, 2007 2:53 am UTC

A lightning bolt reaches temperatures to around 50k degrees F.


And only exists for a split second, or else it would melt the *planet*. Your container stands a pretty good chance.

After all, *people* survive lightning strikes.
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Postby computergeek6933 » Mon May 14, 2007 3:03 am UTC

Belial wrote:
A lightning bolt reaches temperatures to around 50k degrees F.


And only exists for a split second, or else it would melt the *planet*. Your container stands a pretty good chance.

After all, *people* survive lightning strikes.


Good point. Forgot to think about the duration of the heat lol
So that would make glass a good potential container..maybe with a few holes in the top to allow for expansion or perhaps a whole different chamber to allow the expanded gases to flow through?
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Postby nevetS » Mon May 14, 2007 3:46 am UTC

You can instigate lightning with a model rocket and a trail wire - or so I'm led to believe. I know that it has happened with REAL rockets, so I'm not sure if a model rocket would have enough velocity to actually trigger a reaction or not.

I suppose my idea of using a tesla coil wouldn't work because though the voltage would be there, the heat factor wouldn't. Still, it'd be worth an experiment if anybody has one built already to play with - or for those of you in school still - see if you might have a cooperative physics professor that has access to one.
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no more lightning?

Postby nexterday » Mon May 14, 2007 6:17 am UTC

If rockets with wires attached to them can create lightning, will the proposed(?) space elevator have a continuous current running through it? Would it get rid of lightning entirely on earth? or maybe just a small section....
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Postby Berge » Mon May 14, 2007 7:55 am UTC

Belial wrote:
A lightning bolt reaches temperatures to around 50k degrees F.


And only exists for a split second, or else it would melt the *planet*.


This has always been mind boggling to me. A lightning bolt can be six times hotter than the surface of the sun. Just from a differnce in charge caused by water in the air moving around.

Heh, we're surrounded by "miracles" from purely natural phenomena all the time. Its always bothered me that people find the need to invent their own.
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Postby Drostie » Mon May 14, 2007 8:01 am UTC

Simple solution to the falling problem: The cable is entirely well-insulated, excepting an antenna-portion at the top. The sand jar remains at the bottom of the cable, connected directly to ground.

The your-ceramic-jar-a-splode problem is a bit harder, and I didn't think of it. You might be able to minimize the effect by attempting to suction the air out through a fine enough filter that the sand doesn't come with, creating a more-vaccuum sort of environment. Of course, if you overdo it then you won't get lightning in the jar in the first case, so I'm not sure how much you could get out of that. You might do a bit better if you electrically insulate the jar, then embed it in a big concrete block. This would also protect the jewelry-to-be from the falling cable.
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Postby nevetS » Mon May 14, 2007 8:22 am UTC

From my understanding - and my understanding is very superficial - is that a static ground wire to the earth does nothing, but a high speed object will trigger lightning.

Apparently, the discovery was made by NASA on one of the early Apollo crafts - when launched into space, it was hit by lightning. After months of trying to figure out what happened, they realized that it wasn't just a fluke - that the craft itself caused the lightning.

Google around and you'll probably find a better explanation than I can give.
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Postby WhiteRabbit » Mon May 14, 2007 3:11 pm UTC

I once worked at a research laboratory that actually did quite a bit of lightning triggering and had a method for producing fulgurites.

The top of the mountain had an array of three to nine rods, and there were a couple of underground metal rooms, that we called 'Kivas' so that we could work up there during a storm.

Lightning was triggered by small model rockets that trailed thin copper wire from a spool on the ground.

Fulgurites were produced from a variety of materials, but high Si sand worked the best. We used a piece of PVC pipe, about a foot long and six inches in diameter with a metal rod sticking out of each end about six inches, but only going and inch or two inside. There was no connection between them other than the material we were testing. The vessels were buried, with one end attached to a lightning rod and the other to a grounding spike. The PVC would often crack and melt a bit near the metal rods, but otherwise came through just fine.

The biggest fulgurites aren't produced by lightning, but by cut transmission lines near a power plant.
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Postby DeadCatX2 » Mon May 14, 2007 4:32 pm UTC

Woxor wrote:
John DeSavage wrote:Not to be pedantic*, but the only onomatopoeias above are rumble, boom, and crack.

*Ok... to be totally pedantic.

You mean you don't hear an ambient sort of "GIVE" sound when you give something?


When someone gives me something, I hear that sound from Zelda that indicates you just acquired an item.
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Postby Sprocket » Mon May 14, 2007 6:27 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
catproximity wrote:Should I feel lame calling him Randall? Is that like back in 1996 when everyone would talk about going to see "Dave" as if they were Dave Matthews very close friend, and the two of them were going to play bongos in his living room and drink hot cocoa?


These bloody forums have me calling him Randall now....normally, I call him Randy.


Hammer wrote:
CatProximity wrote:Should I feel lame calling him Randall?


Anyway, what would you call him that was somehow less lame?
Mr. Munroe, sir?
Randmeister?
"The Artist"?
...


LOL!
Well you know "Randall Munroe" works. It's formal and precise.
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Postby Vaniver » Tue May 15, 2007 12:06 am UTC

This has always been mind boggling to me. A lightning bolt can be six times hotter than the surface of the sun.
Well, the surface of the sun is actually fairly cool. The atmosphere of the sun is where the real heat is (for a reason that's still unknown).
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Postby Berge » Tue May 15, 2007 12:20 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
This has always been mind boggling to me. A lightning bolt can be six times hotter than the surface of the sun.
Well, the surface of the sun is actually fairly cool. The atmosphere of the sun is where the real heat is (for a reason that's still unknown).


Yeah, but its still a cool (hot?) thing to say.
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Postby Isaac Hill » Fri May 18, 2007 3:41 am UTC

athelas wrote:An odd way of making a glass necklace. I like how in xkcdland, all actions have physical representations hovering nearby.


LE4dGOLEM SAYS: Somebody coined the term "xkcdverse". It is better than "xkcdland".

*research later*

Isaac Hill coined it in the "kite" discussion (the *tie* physical representation). THe earliest seperate event was Phy in the "conspiracy theories" thread (bug report to God)


I've seen both suffixes used, but in different ways. *verse is usually used to denote the fictional realm in which something takes place. I've seen *land used to denote where something is created, like a band referring to its rehearsal space. In this case, xkcdland would be RM's house/apartment/van down by the river.
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Have to try it.

Postby Kelley » Fri May 18, 2007 7:22 pm UTC

I really think something like this would work without much fuss. Once you have something for the elevation, the metal on both ends to direct the current, and a storm of course. My only real question would be what kind of sand to use since it's it will be the main influence on the success of the whole experiment. I think I'd have to set up a couple assemblies with different types of sands.
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