> (At this point the researchers became somewhat concerned that the noise from the toaster would wake the neighbors and attract undue attention. However, we decided that we were already committed to the experiment and that the neighbors would be able to sacrifice some sleep in the name of science.)

Problematic to conduct human research without any noted IRB approval.

In the mid 1990's someone in my office put pop tarts in the microwave and mis-typed the time by an extra digit or something and walked back to his desk.

The entire 7 story building was evacuated and the fire department called because of the smoke. There was so much smoke everyone thought the building itself was on fire.

There is a surprising amount of energy in food. It's also possible to make a thermic lance using materials such as spaghetti or bacon:

One of many interesting articles from a time when "clickbait" had not been invented (although the title is itself somewhat attractive.) I can certainly imagine what it would look like if this article were written today.

Last Updated: 2G August 1994

For a second I thought that was a 6, but it's actually a G. I wonder if there's any significance to that?

There are oddly few good videos of poptarts making huge flames[1]... but I did find one! (edit: same video, but use KennyBlanken's youtube link below instead) Given the description, maybe it's even related to this site?

Honestly that's pretty impressive. I know it says "10-18 inches", but yea... that's 10-18 inches. For a full minute. That's a serious house hazard.

[1]: I expected them to be all over. "Common things making unexpectedly large fires" is, like, 10% of the internet, right? But no, it's just a rare handful of actual matches in a sea of unrelated search results.

> 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.

Sounds like a good opportunity for some follow-up research!

Humor columnist Dave Barry's original article:
This puts me in mind of the Twinkies experiments… in the 90s a couple of Rice students documented a series of experiments on the early web (I remember the “resistivity” test being especially entertaining).

Unfortunately it looks like it’s vanished sometime in the last 30 years.

This is the web I really miss!
I think I remember the last time this was posted here! Someone pointed out that "safety-related items" does not appear to include shoes as evidenced by Figure 5.

On another note, it's a really nicely crafted lab report. If I taught a science class I might use this as an example submission.

Thankfully this article uses GIF thumnails instead of the full sized images. Thanks to that, I was able to load the page very quickly with my 500 Mbps bandwidth.
pmichaud is the original author of the excellent
Discussed in 2018: (33 comments)

This was my key takeaway from chemistry class in highschool: sucrose burns hotter than acetylene.
Well this is giving me some serious nostalgia flushes.

I think one of the first web pages I viewed was the "Fun with Grapes" page on my Windows 3.0 machine running Trumpet Winsock[0] (or maybe KA9Q[1] which I remember using around that time as well) and Netscape Navigator over my Demon Internet connection in 1994. Before this I had a Delphi account for about a year or so and life was entirely text based - yay Gopher! I still remember that initial fascination with being to click on links that would take me to other web sites.

And yes I did buy grapes to try to reproduce the pyrotechnics shown on that page, though less successfully due to my microwave not being very powerful.



What about the control data with other pop tart flavors? Cinnamon sugar? Blueberry? S'mores? I want a tournament bracket for this
I like to toast corn tortillas to crumble up and put in soup. You can do this in a toaster however it has to be CLOSELY MONITORED as there is a very small window (microseconds, probably) between nicely toasted marshmallow brown and entire toaster engulfed in flames like in the article. This was determined empirically..
Now I feel old. I remember reading that in about 1997 on a Pipex dialup.
This was one of the first web pages I looked at when I got online in 1994. I looked at it again recently because it epitomises a very different and nostalgic era of the web.