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Making Small Change 176

dimnet writes "The Quarter Shrinker uses a technique called high velocity electromagnetic metal forming, or "Magneforming". This technique was originally developed by the aerospace industry, and has been popularized by Aerovox, Grumman, and Maxwell. It involves discharging a high energy capacitor bank through a work coil to generate a very powerful, rapidly changing magnetic field which then interacts with and "forms" the metal to be fabricated. It only works with metals of relatively high conductivity, such as copper or aluminum alloys, although it will work to a more limited extent with sheet steel...." The site has some awesome pictures of small metal objects which have been victimized. [Update: 02/22 by michael : Note that the entire original site has been taken down and replaced with banner ads - however, there are working mirror links in the comments below.]
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Making Small Change

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  • Sure enough, magnets and electromagnets are allowed []. However, electricity-based weapons are not []. So, actually, I'm not sure where this falls ;).

    Alex Bischoff
  • The one I saw was...

    All Dogs Go To
    Pet Sematary

  • Jesus Christ, can't you check anything?
  • I think it violates the no EMP clause. The page mentions that the pulse is strong enough to erase your credit cards if you're standing next to it...
    #define X(x,y) x##y
  • Nah, wreck all you like. They'll print more! :-)

  • Section 11.3
    Yes, it will cause radio interference. Besides, I think a 1 ton battlebot is just a bit over the weight requirement.


  • I don't believe it's illegal to deface US coins or currency unless there's intent to defraud.

    Cutting cents down to the size of dimes and then trying to pass them as dimes is illegal. Drawing a zero after the numbers on a $10 bill and then trying to pass it as a $100 bill is illegal.

    If the currency or coin has collector value, it's illegal to alter it to make it appear more valuable, but that's a different set of laws.

  • by JTek ( 5392 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @01:07PM (#412977)
    How long until we start seeing this technology enter the amusement-park-souvineer-penny-smasher industry?

    Josh Hinman

  • Yeah, *he* typed all that, but the guys with the time machines who've posted the same thing to several other stories on previous days obviously practiced their plagarism by way of cut 'n' paste.
  • Hickman's page seems to have been slashdotted, I found his old page at: shrinker.html also: /pulse.htm
  • It's not a phony article.

    I'm not really sure what's going on in this instance, but the original link was Slashdotted in a big way ('connection refused' errors galore). One of the following must have happened:

    • The site owner tried mirroring their content, and Chose Poorly;
    • The hosting server admin tried mirroring the content, and likewise Chose Poorly;
    • The hosting server admin is in cahoots with the evil banner ad site, and decided to take advantage of the situation.

    Other possibilities no doubt exist. The point is that, yes, there is a real site; it's just hard to get to at the moment. There was a link to a mirror in an earlier post, which works fine.


  • I vaguely remember the method used to power an experimental particle beam weapon developed by the sobviet union. This thing was massive, but the power supply system for firing was amazing - They would build up current on a load of *huge* coils and when the time was ready to fire they would switch circuits ans the collapsing magnetic fields would produce a huge power output.

    They didn't stop there though, the coils were designed to be compressed rapidly by shaped explosives, so the shrunk coils in the same filed would generate even larger power surges. Basically a load of the energy of the explosives went into a huge electrical blast.
  • in fact, the more money you burn or destroy, the more real wealth you leave for everyone else, and it helps fight inflation.

    Now printing your own money - that's illegal, big time.
  • switch to banner ads! Slash-bait-and-switch. How ingenious. In fact you could automate the process - whenever you web site is getting over a certain number of hits/unit time, switch the content to paid-for ads, sort of like building up to a dramatic climax during a tv program and then pausing for a few commercial messages.
  • ...with cool fun electric toys. Look at the first "Can crusher" image... there in the background is a classic "Jacob's Ladder" device. So that's what they do with their neon-sign transformer when it's not charging high-energy capacitors!

  • Getting back at those damn old people with pacemakers that drive slow in the fast lane....just mount it on your front bumper, and it'll cause a traffic disturbance ahead.
  • I saw a marquee said "THE FLY GODS MUST BE CRAZY ALIENS"

    And I couldn't really disagree with that

  • The dialog needs work...they've got Bush speaking English much to well.
  • I saw one of these at the Smithsonian Institution. It was a coin-operated device that crushed thin metal tubes inside a coil. You inserted a quarter and the machine dropped a tube into the center of the coil. After the capacitors had been charged, the machine connected them to the coil, producing forces that crushed the tube. The crushed tube was then dropped down a chute into an area where it could be removed from the machine. It was very popular with the museum's visitors.
  • by Detritus ( 11846 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @03:56PM (#412989) Homepage
    It used to be illegal to deface coins. You can see this in old jewelry where coins were held inside ring mounts to avoid drilling holes through the coins.
  • Could this work on the atomic scale?

    in what way?

    Could this be used on something like a microprocessor?

    Yeah, but it'll void the warrenty :)

  • No, it is not.

    You can mangle, modify, slice, grind, etc. coins any way you want.

    It is illegal to try to use them as money after you do so, however...

    "They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"
  • Could this work on the atomic scale? Could this be used on something like a microprocessor?
  • A Christmas Story for Coilers
    by Fr. Tom McGahee
    (Originally written Christmas of 1998)
    (Slightly Modified for Christmas, 1999)

    The story begins innocently enough... Meanwhile, out in the garage, Bill the Frankfurter was busily lashing together his latest concoction: In keeping with the Christmas Spirit, Bill was building a rather large Christmas Decoration for the front yard. To the uninitiated it looked simply like a large aluminum Christmas tree mounted on a pedestal of some sort. In reality, the aluminum Christmas tree was merely the Topload on Bill's latest Tesla Coil. Bill knew full well that the geometry of the tree did not really lend itself well to being an EFFICICIENT topload. But that was all-right. Bill was more interested in shock value than he was in efficiency. Actually, the pedestal was the "extra" coil of Bill's experimental Magnifier Tesla Coil. According to his calculations the "extra" coil should be capable of throwing arcs at least 6 feet long. One of these days, if he could manage to scrape up the necessary cash, he would try building one of those as yet untried polymorphic toroid structures designed by that guy who was advertising plans for them on the Tesla List. But not today.

    He chuckled to himself as he struggled to move the "extra" coil and Christmas tree topload out of the garage and onto the front lawn. His wife was currently curled up in front of the fireplace with a romance book and two cats. Bill hated cats, but for the sake of his wife he tolerated their presence in his home. Bill strapped the coil/tree assembly to the top of the little American Flyer sled, and wrestled it into position on the front lawn. The final position was about 7 feet away from the shoveled walkway that led from the street to his front door. Bill always used the side door, but he had In-Laws coming over tonight, and *they* always used the Front Door. He figured the 6 foot arcs would be hurled mostly upward, and there would be no chance of the arcs actually coming any where near the In-Laws as they came down the little shoveled path that he had prepared.

    He carefully positioned a couple of dozen old polyethylene buckets to hold the transmission line, which was several lengths of 1/2 inch copper tubing that he had brazed together. He giggled to himself deliriously as he fastened the transmission line in place and attached it to the base of the "extra" coil. Then he attached the other end of the transmission line to the anti-corona ring of his secondary coil.

    The secondary coil consisted of a single layer of high voltage test prod wire wrapped in a solenoid fashion around a fair-sized plastic garbage can. The test prod wire was "on loan" from Bill's employer. The employer was unaware of this fact, but Bill appreciated his generosity all the same. The garbage can was a slightly used Rubber-Maid garbage can that Bill had swiped from the kitchen earlier in the day. The garage was permeated with the odor of aging tuna fish. The plastic garbage can was nestled inside a piece of slightly damp cardboard sonotube that was several inches larger in diameter than the garbage can. Bill had "borrowed" the sonotube from a construction site a few blocks away that was not very heavily guarded. One of these days he would return it. If he managed to remember, of course... The primary consisted of several turns of heavy battery cable that Bill had found laying around in the back of one of his buddies' trucks. (All of Bill's buddies drive trucks...)

    Most of the high voltage capacitors were homebrew poly caps in sections of PVC pipe and under mineral oil (actually an off-brand of cattle laxative that he had seen mentioned by Gary Weaver on the Tesla List.) Not being able to find any decent clear poly, Bill had managed to scrape up a mixture of "construction" grade poly (that had lots of interesting things imbedded in it), and some smooth and shiny BLACK poly that he thought might work well, despite his fleeting concern that it might contain large quantities of carbon in the form of lampblack. What the heck, what did he have to lose by trying???

    Dozens of these capacitors were wired in series - parallel to achieve the required voltage and capacitance rating. Just a few days before, he had discovered a mistake in his calculations and had realized that he still needed more capacitance. Remembering a series of posts on the Tesla List about MMC and EMMC caps, Bill had decided to try his hand at making EDEMMCB caps. (Extremely Dangerous Extended Monolithic Modular Capacitor Banks) Let's see, now, he was sure that Terry Fritz or one of those guys had posted something about being able to run them at something like 3 times their rated DC voltage. So with his 14.4KV One Eared Pole Pig he would need about a 4.8KV rating on the caps. Being a somewhat conservative kind of a guy (at least when it comes to things electrical), he decided to round that up to a 5KV DC rating. He smiled broadly at the thought of all the extra margin of safety he had engineered into this EDEMMCB capacitor.

    He had purchased one hundred .1 microfarad 500 volt DC off-brand snubber caps at the local Radio Shack for a buck a piece. What the heck. It was Christmas. He could afford to splurge a little. He didn't have any of that printed circuit board stuff to mount the capacitors onto, so he just spot soldered strings of ten capacitors together. He kept the leads the full length and just spot soldered the very ends of the capacitors together. That way if a capacitor were to accidentally fail he could just snip off the very end and turn them back into Radio Shack for a full refund. The only problem with leaving the leads so long was that the strings of capacitors were quite long. Fifty inches to be exact. He wasn't about to waste any precious money on high megohm resistors, so there were no bleeder resistors across any of the caps. The ten strings of capacitors were laid out side by side on the concrete floor. As was his custom, Bill lashed all the capacitor strings together using Radio Shack clip leads.

    Imagine Bill's consternation when he measured the total capacitance of his poly caps and EDEMMCB capacitor only to discover that he was still off by .01001 microfarad from the magic capacitor value that TESLAC had spit out.

    Not wanting to spend any more money and time on poly caps or more strings of EDEMMCB caps, he decided to revert to making the tried and true Beer Bottle Caps. He had tried making Soda Bottle Caps once, but they were not nearly so much *fun* to make as Beer Bottle Caps.

    Bill had invited a couple dozen of his closest friends over for a Bring Your Own Booze - Beer Bash. His wife finally busted up the party at 4 AM Sunday morning. Bill emptied out whatever beer still remained in the bottles (I leave it to your own imagination to figure out just how he did this). After many many trips to the bathroom he finally had all the empty beer bottles he needed. There were a fair number of aluminum cans as well. These he put in the plastic garbage bag in the kitchen. While his wife wasn't looking he stole all the aluminum foil and corn oil and salt that he could find and proceeded to build a couple of tub-fulls of beer bottle caps, which he then wired into the existing capacitor grid using his few remaining Radio Shack clip leads.

    The spark gap was an old circular saw blade that was missing a couple of teeth. Why bother to pay big bucks to that Wingate guy for a precision built and properly balanced tungsten gapped rotary spark gap with G-10 fiberglass wheel when you could make your own for next to nothing? Bill's own rotary spark gap was powered by an ancient single phase AC motor that Bill had scrounged from the local dump for a few bucks. The motor and circular saw blade were connected via a belt and pulley arrangement, since the shaft of the AC motor was somewhat bent, and could not reliably direct-drive the saw blade. As it was, when the spark gap motor was powered on, the wooden base to which the entire Spark Gap assembly was bolted would shake all over the place and make an awful racket. Bill had jerry-rigged a device that allowed him to vary the phasing on the spark gap by rotating the motor by pulling on a four foot long two-by-four. Bill had wanted to use a ten-foot-pole, but Malcolm Watts told him that nobody would want to come near it with a ten-foot pole. That seems to have convinced him.

    Looking through the archives, Bill had found a posting by John Freau on how to convert small AC motors into fully synchronous motors. Oblivious to the fact that the conversion pertained only to SMALL AC motors, Bill modified his motor anyhow, and found that after filing away large chunks of his rotor that the modification only made his motor lopsided. Now it REALLY jumped around when he turned on the power. So he held the rotary spark gap assembly wooden base plate as still as he could by temporarily holding it down with a couple of old lawn mower engines that he had hanging around. He made a mental note to drop John a nasty note telling him how useless his modification had been.

    Back a few feet from the spark gap was the one eared pole pig. Thick high voltage cables snaked across the floor from the Pig to the Spark Gap and the rest of the Tesla Coil. Not wanting to cut the cables, (which he had borrowed from work without asking) Bill had left each cable its original length of fifty feet.

    The pig was fed a diet of 220 VAC from a 100 amp service line. Now, the pole piggie was only rated at 10KVA, but Bill had read somewhere on the List that you could actually push a pig to two or three times its rated power capacity if you kept the run short, (so that you didn't boil off all the oil). Bill planned to test out this theory tonight.

    Now, Bill SHOULD have had a number of things that he didn't. Such as common sense, an ON/OFF switch, and adequate fuses. Bill just couldn't bring himself to pay good money for something that was designed to self-destruct. Instead of fuses he had placed large metal bolts in the fuse holders. Much more robust, don't you think??

    Being something of a cheapskate, Bill had decided not to bother with installing a silly little thing like an ON/OFF switch, because the guy at the dump wanted more than two bucks for the ones he had in the big box marked "Electrical Stuff". He knew that he needed something to limit the current to the pole pig, so he decided to wire a couple of defective toaster ovens and a couple of strings of Christmas tree bulbs in *parallel* with the primary of the pole pig. He could have SWORN that he had read a post somewhere (maybe on the Tesla-2 List) about putting some sort of a load in series or parallel or something or other with the transformer primary.

    Bill knew that a variac was really a "must", but he didn't have one. He was originally going to use a 5 amp Triac that was on sale at Radio Shack, but when he got there they were all out. But then he remembered having read a post that seemed to imply that you could modify a three phase AC motor to act as some kind of a variable transformer. Sneaking into the dump under cover of darkness, he liberated a 400 pound three phase AC motor that had once seen service in an office building as the elevator motor. Luckily for him he owned a truck with a crane attached. Heh heh. A few whacks with an axe in just the right places and he had de-commisioned one set of windings. He knew he only needed two. But which two? He hoped it was the two that still remained. He welded two metal stubs to the casing and then welded a three foot length of one inch diameter solid steel rod to the rotor shaft. Now the motor shaft could only turn 90 degrees.

    It was still a minute or two before the In-Laws were scheduled to arrive. One last check and Bill was ready for an operational test. He turned on the rotary spark gap motor. Whump! Whump! Whump! Whump! Whump WhumpWHUMPwhumpawhumpawumpawupa... Yes, the spark gap assembly was a bit, uh, vibrational, but seemed to be holding together OK. Bill lined the plug up with the socket (remember, he had no ON/OFF switch), and rammed the plug into the socket. BZZZZSHHHT! The spark gap lit up with bright actinic light and would have fried Bill's eyeballs in no time at all if not for the fact that Bill (always safety conscious) had quickly put on a pair of welding goggles. Now he could look at the spark gap arc with impunity. Which he did. Unfortunately, the goggles were so dark that that was ALL that Bill could see.

    Carefully shielding his eyes with his left hand, he used his right hand to gingerly lift the goggles and look at the Christmas tree on the front lawn.

    Outside, the Christmas tree came to life with a pale glow of pink and blue corona that fuzzed out for about two feet. But no arcs. No streamers. What a bummer! He stuffed another wad of cotton in each ear so that he could think again, and taking a deep breath of the ozone-soaked air, he groped his way over towards the modified three phase motor. Grabbing a hold of the metal rod, he strained to change the angle of the rotor. Suddenly a forest of fierce white arcs as thick as his arm broke out between the primary and the secondary. DARN!

    He released the control rod. TWANG!!!! The rod slammed itself into the short stub that acted as a stop. Bill yanked the plug out of the socket. This was not an easy task, as the plug was sort of welded into the socket. But a few good whacks with a monkey wrench and the plug came loose. The only sound was the whappawhappawhapa of the rotary gap assembly, and the insistent buzzing that was only in Bill's ears. DARN! The secondary was arcing to the primary. Maybe if he added a capacitive load to the secondary he could get this sucker to stop arcing. He looked around for something... anything... to use as a capacitive load. His eyes came to rest on the leering sharp-toothed smile of his butane tank work of art, the Halloween Tank-O-Lantern. To amuse the neighbors and anyone else foolish enough to approach his house at Halloween, he had fashioned a gruesome Tank-O-Lantern by using a cutting torch to fashion leering eyes and drooling teeth from the once-smooth surface of the butane tank. The various burn marks from the cutting torch operations made the tank look even more sinister when the light played on it just right.

    Grabbing the Tank-O-Lantern, he managed to get it to sit on top of the existing anti-corona ring. It wobbled a bit, but what the heck.

    For the second time that evening, Bill rammed the plug into the socket. Again the spark gap burst into life. The horrendous roar of the spark gap beat against his ears as he grabbed the control rod and pulled. A fierce blue corona outlined the eyes and teeth of the leering Tank-O-Lantern, and as he gleefully peeked out from under the welding goggles, Bill could plainly see that beautiful two to three foot arcs were issuing forth from the branches of the aluminum Christmas tree. Not bad. The system was obviously a little out of tune, and he didn't have much more time before the In-Laws would arrive, so he would just have to run it the way it was. But he wanted the tree to look a bit more Christmas-sy so he whacked the plug with the monkey wrench again and turned off the high voltage. Then he made a quick surreptitious trip to the attic and got some really awful Christmas ornaments, (the ones that his In-Laws had given him and his wife years ago), and used them to decorate the tree.

    Unknown to Bill, while he was out decorating the tree, his wife came out to the garage with a bag full of garbage that she didn't want in her kitchen for her parents to see. Looking around in the garage she spied what she knew was a plastic garbage can sitting inside what looked like a cardboard container of some kind. Seeing no other garbage container around, she decided to dump the load of trash into the plastic garbage can. So she did. And with interesting results.

    Bill was totally unaware that the coupling and inductance of his coil had been changed slightly by the addition of various beer cans and tuna fish containers that had been dumped into the core of his beloved experimental Magnifier Coil.

    The addition of the gaudy glass Christmas tree ornaments had little effect on the capacitance of the Christmas Tree Topload, but Bill's last-minute addition of a large copper toilet ball to the very *top* of the tree had changed the isotropic capacitance of the total topload just enough that the "extra" coil and topload were in perfect tune.

    When Bill saw his In-Laws exit their car and begin their trip down the shoveled walkway that led within a few feet of the Christmas Coil, he stationed himself next to the power outlet and waited until they were at just the right spot.

    His face twitched nervously, and he made a strange gurgling sound as he waited anxiously for his In-Laws to reach the perfect spot. And then they were there.

    Gleefully he jammed the plug into the socket and then ran excitedly over to the control rod. Little beads of sweat broke out on his forehead as he grasped the rod firmly with both hands and pulled madly back on the control rod.

    Meanwhile, inside the garbage can secondary, RF induction heating was taking place on the cat food tin cans. The heat caused the garbage to shift suddenly, and in that instant a wonderful serendipity took place. For a few fleeting cycles, PERFECT resonance was achieved! Megawatts of energy happily surged back and forth in the slipshod tank circuit of the amazing Christmas Coil. Phase angles slipped past one another invisibly and fell in-synch. Due to a couple of missing teeth on the makeshift rotary spark gap's circular saw blade the caps ceased to fire for a moment, and the capacitor bank experienced an Anomalous Resonant Rise. An instant later the excessive voltage caused a particularly massive dump of energy into the primary circuit at precisely the right phase angle, and the resulting surge in energy passed from the base of the wildly glowing Tank-O- Lantern down the copper tubing transmission line, which looked as though it were ringed with fire. The transmission line was just exactly the right length to allow the electrical wave travelling down it to slam into the base of the "extra" coil precisely at a zero voltage, MAX current node. Richard Hull would have been proud. The "extra" coil and the Christmas Tree Topload with round copper toilet ball were exactly matched to the impedance required, and the massive driving force of megawatts of resonant energy caused the "extra" coil to react like a spring that had been hit hard with a hammer. The resulting jump in energy caused the voltage at the Christmas Tree to exceed the breakdown voltage of the winter air. With a mad, screeching KaBOOOM the air broke down, and a single solitary streamer launched itself into the cold night air. Up, UP, *UP* it surged, sending a seething, writhing, liquid bolt of pure white electricity stabbing through the darkness. Then, seeking the path of least resistance, it arched over and began its lethal descent. Escaping the intense electrostatic forces that existed at the surface of the aluminum tree, the mighty bolt of man-made lightning swerved around and headed straight for the nearest conductive object it could find!!!

    The In-Laws would have been toasted alive were it not for the one object that caught the Arc's attention. Beyond the In-Laws, a good twenty feet from where the Lightning Bolt had launched itself from the infamous Copper Toilet Ball, was an old fashioned lamp post. It put out a dim but somewhat cheery quantity of light that seemed to beckon to the Wayward Lightning Bolt. Like a giant white arm, the lightning bolt swerved around from its upward climb and slammed full force into the cheery lamp post.

    PHHHHHHHT! KABLAMMMMM! Like a gigantic flash lamp the lightning bolt lit up the night with an instant of blinding whiteness and a deafening BLAM that reverberated in the In-Law's ears long after their knees had stopped shaking. Where the mighty arc hit, the metal of the lamp-post went incandescent and exploded into a shower of hot sparks that rained through the air and burnt their way through the snow.

    The momentary surge of primary current was too much for the EDEMMCB capacitor strings. One moment they were as cool as the night air, then the next instant they exploded like 100 Chinese firecrackers. When the EDEMMCB caps exploded this placed too much of an electrical burden on the other capacitors in the system. First the Beer Bottle caps shattered and sent shards of glass whizzing in all directions. Then the once-sturdy home-made rolled caps exploded like a bunch of defective cannon. They all burst at once and spewed hot liquid laxative throughout the garage, and all over poor Bill, who was already feeling pretty sh***y as it was.

    A flash of light. A moment of raw, awesome beauty, a might explosion, and then DARKNESS as all the electricity for blocks around ceased to flow.

    It is a Christmas that Bill will always remember. It is a Christmas that his wife and In-Laws will never let him forget.

    ***** This is just a story. Any resemblance to any persons living or dead named Bill is merely coincidental.

    As the author of this tale I want to say that the story is not meant to be a plan for how to build your own Arcstarter -er- I mean, Magnifier Coil.
    The theory contained herein is only partially believeable, and is not meant to be a factual accounting of what actually happens in a Tesla Coil.
    This is not an endorsement of Radio Shack or any of their products.
    Cat lovers will please refrain from sending nasty e-mails to either Bill or myself.
    Plans for the Christmas Coil may be made available if enough persons are interested. I should mention that the plans are purely experimental, which is why I will only be charging a token $25 for the plans.
    I hope that all of you enjoy this little romp in the spirit in which it was written. I hope that none of those mentioned by name or otherwise implicated in the plot take offense at what has been written.
    I wrote it especially for my good friend (at least he WAS my good friend), Bill the Arcstarter Pollack. But, as the disclaimer said, it is not actually ABOUT him. Even though he does hate cats and builds Tank-O-Lanterns, and dabbles in Tesla Coils. This story is just about a Bill who happens to be an awful lot LIKE Bill Pollack. The real Bill would *never* borrow anything from work without asking. He is beyond reproach. He is my friend.
    Written by Fr. Tom McGahee
    (reposted on the TCML in November2000)

  • good point!

    This is my last slashdot post ever. period. for real! i mean it!

    maybe i'll start a support group for recovering slash-o-holics like myself.
  • These guys have arrays of high performance web servers. That's what they claim. It's fraud. Let's get them investigated by the government. Yeah, that should do it.

  • I originally went to the site when there was ONE comment on /. and it had already been /.'d by then (many non-connects, many connect and hang, many connect and disconnect, what little data showed up was minutes late). This CLAIMS to have many high performance servers. But instead, I suggest they are a FRAUD that reveals why many companies are failing on the net.

  • The first stage used Kerosene and LOX.

    Saturn V Press Kit []
  • This place is beginning to annoy me.

    Join the club, sister.
  • I noticed on the Japanese 5 Yen coin, (the brass one with tghe hole,) that, incredibly, the years also changed!
    The one on the left is from the Japanese year Showa 60 and when it was shrunk, it became Heisei 3 nen - Some sort of incredible time shift!

    Oh, wait a minute... Um... Never mind...
  • Without the damn HTML formatting, that's:

    My Giant
    Big and Hairy

  • My old roommate worked at Blockbuster and arranged these three movies on the "Coming Next Month" board above the checkout: My Giant Big and Hairy Dick -B
  • Playing at the same theatre in Lincoln, NE, were:

    Woman On Top
    What Lies Beneath

  • I don't think your penis can get any smaller.
  • Gee...I didn't realize that my coffee can full of pennies could be RUINING SOMEONE'S LIFE!!!

    (i.e. gimme a break)

    Tell it to the coin collectors buddy.
  • This place is beginning to annoy me.

    Heidi, Hobbes said that life in the natural condition is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short".

    By sheer coincidence, this also perfectly describes about 90% of the users on slashdot. For rational discussion, try K5. It's a very Good Thing (tm).

    Hope this helps.

    What do I do, when it seems I relate to Judas more than You?
  • It's really not that funny. Our monetary system is screwed up beyond belief. This is why a country can have a bad year or two and suddenly people are using wheelbarrows to carry enough bills to buy a loaf of break.

    Don't think it can't happen here. Incompetent management is only one of the factors that can cause catastrophic inflation. Even if you assume that your government knows better, they can still be beaten by market factors entirely beyond their control.
  • The initial post of the thread was on-topic, relevant to the story. The above post was on-topic to the thread.

    I swear, slashdot moderation gets worse by the hour.
  • by TheDullBlade ( 28998 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @06:38PM (#413008)
    I know it sounds fantastic and insane, but I'm not making this up. Go ask an economics professor, or go to the library and do a little research (I'm assuming that you won't believe any webpage I point you to).

    At the root of the modern monetary system is the central bank: privately owned but heavily regulated so it is effectively government run.

    The central bank has the power to create money directly, without any assets to back it up, but only in the form of loans (and anybody allowed to borrow money from the central bank is so regulated that they must pay it back). While the government may mint cash, if they wish to keep it they must consider it borrowed from the central bank and pay interest on it.

    When somebody has a positive balance in a bank account, they are considered to have that much money. So the total amount of money out there is cash plus account balances. Debts are not subtracted (if they were, there would always be a negative total amount of money). When somebody takes out a loan, their account balance is increased, but nobody's account balance is reduced. If the loan-created money is withdrawn as cash or transferred to another bank, then the bank's holdings are reduced, but another bank's are increased by the same amount. When the loan is "paid off" from the borrower's account, the banker simply strikes off the liability from their record books and only takes the interest as profit that remains spendable "money" (the reason why has to do with the "fractional reserve" rules and regulations that prevent them from just giving themselves a billion dollars whenever they feel like it). The total amount of money is thus reduced.

    Banks only need to have a small percentage of their liabilities (the money in accounts at their bank) as cash in their vaults or in their account at the central bank. So they can "lend" money by simply increasing someone's account in their records. There is no "pot" to fund other loans. Unless your bank has recently experienced a run, they have no effective limit on how much money they may lend out (i.e. they don't need to have it to lend it). Though if they need to transfer funds to another bank or hand out cash they may need to take out loans of their own from the central bank, and pay interest on it. They are protected from being unable to pay out what they are owed (in cash or as transfers to another bank) because the central bank always has more and never refuses to loan a bank in good legal standing money they need (which is why it is called the "lender of last resort").

    As for burning physical cash when loans are paid off (specifically loans to the central bank, which is the root source of all cash, and is drawing interest on all of it in circulation at all times), that is done quite commonly. This is called "taking it out of circulation", and there isn't always exactly the same amount of new cash minted (in fact, there is no direct connection between cash destroyed and cash printed, other than that they go through the same institution). In anticipation of Y2K panic, the government had extra cash printed up. After the scare was over, the cash supply was reduced by printing less cash than was collected.

    The rules and regulations needed to make such an insane system work at all are far, far too complicated to get into here.
  • Thank's *loads* for the mirror. I was dying to read that article and almost gave up hope.

    Derek Lewis
  • No. Money does not cease to exist when the loan that created it is paid off. It goes back in the pot to fund other loans. What, there is a guy at the bank burning money as people pay their mortgages?
  • no, same volume. It's thicker !
  • Is can it change pennies into quarters?

  • What would you call it if you did this to an IBM Microdrive []?

  • The resulting object is more dense then the previous one, or at least I am assuming so. The Law of Conservation of Matter it is called (or mass/energy or whatever).

  • by joshamania ( 32599 ) <> on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @12:55PM (#413015) Homepage
    When can I get this for my battlebot?!?!
  • If nowhere else, Disneyland has machines in various places around the park that takes pennies and dimes and presses them into long thin ovals. Then again, it's unwise to mess with the mouse.
  • of responsible reporting. they should email these people befor they post and ask if it's ok to mirror their site first. /.ing a site and crushing their webserver is about as bad as spam in my book. perhaps the folks at should send the /. authors a note of thanks for the advertisement.

    use LaTeX? want an online reference manager that
  • The United States Codes under Title 18, Chapter 17, and Section 331, "prohibits the mutilation, diminution and falsification of United States coinage." This law was designed to catch forgers and "clippers" (who used to clip bits of silver off coins and sell them for bullion.)


    But also see

    There is a small industry devoted to making "elongated" cents as souvenirs at carnivals, etc. There is are also a folk artform where designs are hand carved into coins. Do an eBay search for "love token". The most famous love token is the "hobo nickel", a Buffalo nickel recut to look like a hobo, made during the US Depression of the 1930s.
  • Of course they do... but we didn't detect them until recently, which is, I believe, the intent of the original poster. The discovery of fullerenes got someone (three people, actually) a nobel prize, so I'd call it a relatively amazing discovery, wouldn't you?
  • That's funny - i could have sworn that you were unable to turn dollars in for gold - and it had been that way for a long time.....

    And yes - coins are notes of tender. Nowdays - the materials in the coins are worth less than the value of the coin itself - sure - you can melt down your quarters, but don't expect to get $.25 for each of em.....
  • The idea of using induced electic field repulsion for metal forming is being investigated by one of the professors in my department at the Ohio State University.

    He is working on using this same effect to imrove the formability of alloys that are problematic - namely he is interested in Aluminum for use in automobile bodies. You can get more ductility and formability out of some materials if oyu form them at very high strain rates, and the idea here is that you form the rough shape with conventional techniques and then you zap the metal with electromagnetic field in the areas with detail or sharp features in order to "fill out" the mold.

    There's a copy of some of the pictures from the quarter shrinker taped up on his door.

    For people that have been wondering how the coin gets smaller and retains its features without breaking the laws of physics - it is getting thicker. Look at the site - one of the quarters is balooned into a sphere. It de-laminated at the silver-copper layer!

    His grad students are in the room next to ours and ever time they discharge their capacitor bank it makes the monitors on the wall adjacent to their room shudder... and it makes a hell of a bang.

  • I got the main page (no graphics) just before the page appears to have been deleted. my copy is here []. Feel free to make your own mirror.
  • Thanks... The original link now connects to a freaking advertising page, with freaking popups yet.

  • OK, I've got to ask -- in one of the pictures they show the laboratory where they did this, and there are all sorts of shades of purple and blue and other 'cool' colors shining about. Do people really right their labs with these funny lights, or is it done entirely in Photoshop (or gimp) later?
  • I know that this technique is possible. I've read about it in at least 1 if not more college physics textbooks, but this site smells. The images, especially that last one, is iffy at best. I have a sinking feeling that our esteemed /. editors got take for a ride on this one.

    as for the banner-ad filled page, I've heard of the domain name game going this route. You register a domain name through one of those cut-rate places and then, when your site is popular, they yank the name from you...

    just some thoughts.
  • Now, if he actually _typed_ that all as soon as he saw the article was posted, he deserves karma. :-)
  • *grins*

    And I thought I typed fast. :-)

  • Wait a minute... you got KARMA for effort in grade school? Sheesh. Where did you go to school? I got a piece of candy, or maybe even a pat on the back. Karma... wowies. :-)
  • From what I saw on the photos, it looks as though the coins do indeed get thicker. Check out the 'quarter ball'.

  • Or render it unfit for circulation?

    Or are coins exempt from this?
  • First, we had to deal with vending machines not taking dollars because they were too wrinkled... this...!

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • by MostlyHarmless ( 75501 ) <> on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @01:31PM (#413032)
    Believe it or not, the U.S. Federal reserve already plans on using this tool to counteract the damaging force of inflation on our country's economy. In fact, according to high-level sources that I cannot name for obvious reasons, the first of these new coins will come out in April, for Delaware. Coins will then follow in step in the order the new coins were introduced. Similar plans are in order for the new Sackagawea (sp?) dollar; however, the serrated edge is adding numerous complications to the project. It is hoped that the new, deflated coins will offset inflationary pressures... or something.

  • by PhatKat ( 78180 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @01:05PM (#413033) Homepage
    Try this link [] or this link [] istead...

    Read my diary [].
  • This falls within the rules. When they say no electricity based weapons they mean you can't use weapons that shock the opponent (that would be too easy, heh).

    However, what kind of power supply would it take to do this just once to a bot? You would definately have to enter the super heavyweight class.
  • I don't know what you remember of physics that says it is impossible to make items more dense. I don't think thats right. Can you clarify?
  • I find it interesting how the thinnest parts of the coin (the areas closest to the bust or the image of the horse on the reverse, such as under George's chin), seemd to collapse and pile up next to the image... The images and text, being thicker, didn't deform as much and instead flowed closer together, and even flowing underneath eachother.

    I would like to see this done with older coins with higher relief (i.e. pennies prior to the 70's).
  • A shrunken coin weighs exactly the same afterwards, and its density is also unchanged - it's merely the shape that's been altered.

    Ever hear of Shrinky Dinks []? This plastic material goes through a similar transformation when heated in a regular food oven. Two dimensions shrink, while it gets thicker to maintain the same volume and density.

  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @01:44PM (#413038) Homepage
    This technique was used in the 1960's on parts of the Saturn V rocket. It was ideal for shaping the super thin aluminum pressure vessels at the front of each stage (and, in the case of the first stage) the back pressure vessels (the different in temperature between the kerosene and the LOX was so high that they couldn't use integral tanks).

    Engineers used to demonstrate how this worked without touching anything by putting pieces of tissue paper between the former and the surface being formed. After they were done, they would take out the unscarred piece of paper and show it.

    The Saturn CII stage needed to get the forward tank pressure vessels into the basic shape to be magnaformed, but it was tricky because they didn't have anything that could create perfect curved pie slices that would be welded together to make the item, so they suspended the pieces of metal in water tanks and set off explosives. This allowed them to shape the metal using the shockwaves.

  • by JessupX ( 98946 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @02:41PM (#413046) Homepage Journal
    Here you go. The site is already /.'ed shrinker.html [] -Jessupx
  • Here it is []
  • can it change pennies into quarters?
    No, but for 20, we can turn a quarter into a nickel. (would that be inflation or deflation?)
  • OK: rereading my mirror [] of their page, they claim that the resulting shrunk coin is the same density -- so either it probably thickens as it shrinks. In fact, they more formally refer to it as forming.
    A shrunken coin weighs exactly the same afterwards, and its density is also unchanged - it's merely the shape that's been altered.
    (2/3 of the way through the article)
  • Simple, the enourmous magnetic field produced by the coil induces a secondary current in the object to be crushed. The induced current produces its own magnetic field and this is what the primary field works against.

  • You should note that that isn't the real Heidi Wall that you are responding to, note the spelling (Wall vs. Walll). You've just been trolled by one of those 19 year old boys ;-)

  • by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @12:57PM (#413055) Homepage
    and why would one want to use such a thing? Perhaps that is why we in California are having an energy shortage. People shrinking metals over at Intel!
  • Yep, you're correct. It appears the the quarter grows thicker to compensate for the smaller diameter. Look at this photo [] to see for yourself. (note, this is on a mirror, so I don't know how long it will last)
  • This sort of thing has been used industrially for decades. However, the industrial machines use a strong enough coil that the coil is unharmed by the process.

    I once worked at Sperry Vickers' hydraulics R&D center, which used a magneformer to squeeze metal bearing rings onto steel valve bobbins. The working coil used for this was about 10 turns of half-inch square copper busbar. Worked fine; no sparks, no explosions, just a "thump" and the job was done.

  • by bluelip ( 123578 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @12:50PM (#413059) Homepage Journal
    some "asked slashdot" how to destroy data on a hard drive. I'm guessing this would do it.
  • by _underSCORE ( 128392 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @12:55PM (#413068) Homepage Journal
    either that, or that data would be highly compressed.

  • Sounds pretty cool,
    But it got me to thinking...
    This thing uses Magnetic fields to form the metal,

    But Copper and Aluminum are non-Ferrus Metals!
    Could somebody who knows a little bit about metalurgy comment on this!
  • From the page: <I>. A shrunken coin weighs exactly the same afterwards, and its density is also unchanged - it's merely the shape that's been altered. </I>

    Okay... the density and mass stay the same (This assumes gravity hasn't increased to keep weight the same for less mass). But the quarter has 'shrunk'. This implies less volume. Unless the quarter has grown thicker to compensate for the smaller diameter, how the hell can the coin's density not change?

  • Does it come with a crooked faced puppet screaming on about how it's from the best country on Earth

    No, in this case it comes with an ignorant, puritan, intolerant and myopic jackbooted Consumo-Ped(TM). Our records show you have not paid your Corprate tithe this quarter - you are therefore unlicensed to hear our Puppet(TM) talk about how Canada has the highest standard of living in the world... but Ill remind you this time for free. Violations in future will be punishable by lashings from ignorant McArthy-ites.
  • by otter42 ( 190544 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @01:36PM (#413090) Homepage Journal
    I used to work at a company in Dayton, OH, that specialized in high current applications. They would drop 1.2 million amps through a coil, inducing a current in a copper ring contained within the coil. The interaction of the moving charges and the magnetic field produced a phenomenal compaction pressure. The whole process took 40 milliseconds.

    One use of this metal forming machine was to compact planetary gear rings from powdered metal. Before sintering, the density at the inner surface was 6.76 g/cc. The density for this steel in a "fully solid" state was 6.77 g/cc. Compare this to 6.6 g/cc, about the best that traditional hydraulic press powdered metal forming forges could do. And it only took 40 milliseconds.


    There was so much force involved, we were constantly breaking coils, with very explosive effects. You could hear a clap of thunder in the other building across the street.

    It's amazing how Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering can combine for some very frightening effects.

    Oh, yeah, they also used to be a Star Wars research firm. They still have a working rail gun in the lab. :)

  • by Dukhat ( 198764 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @01:02PM (#413093)
    In a related research lab, they have been grafting adamantium onto human bones to make the person's skeleton super strong.
  • RE: And increasingly get your rights trampled on and your privacy invaded because the government has some pretty fucked up ideas of freedom.

    That's RICH, considering that Canaduh has that big Big Brother database on every Canadian. "We dismantled that!" Yeah sure, this would of course be at the same time they got rid of the GST, right?

    RE: Every country has their fuck ups, but I would honestly rather live in a country that's worse off economically because of some bonehead government than in a country whose governments' mission is leaning towards Big Brother under the pretense of security and order.

    Canada has no free speech rights, no property rights, your right to self defense is being taken away as we speak, you're all sliding into eternal debt, and you are trying to tell me that America, which has always valued its Constitutional principles, is going to hell in a handbasket? Thanks for playing "let's boost Chretien". Schmuck.

    RE: I'm not a 'yay Canada' type person,

    Oh no, of course not.

    RE: but every single time I hear some stupid Corporate or government move to further encroach on peoples' freedoms, you would not believe how glad I am that I live in Canada.

    Where you don't even have the right to own your own computer, let alone a gun to defend yourself against your government?

    RE: I'll trade money and economic success for freedom ANY day.

    Well, when Canada gets the right to free speech (kiddie porn doesn't count), a decent economy, and respects the right to remain silent, the right to not be subjected to reverse-onus prosecution, etc. let me know, OK? Learn something, THEN post. Leave the Liberal propaganda at home.
  • RE: Sorry, I think you're a little misinformed. The database you're referring to is simply social security current address.

    WRONG. That was why the HDRC was given flack about it, and why they promised to scrap it.

    RE:Hmmm... Let's see... what pile of bullshit do I flush first?

    Ad hominem attacks don't make your points any better.

    RE:SOOO many to choose from. No free speech? Last time I checked, anyone was allowed to gather for protest

    Hm, unless you're protesting Suharto showing up. Then the PMO sends in riot squads. No punishments for those people anywhere: apparently the PMO can supercede the Charter. RE: Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees freedom of expression

    Notwithstanding clause, Supreme Court "adjustments" to laws... Tried posting a sign in English in Quebec lately?

    RE: Our debt is probably 1/100th the USA's debt. And this is the 3rd year in a row IIRC. So what the hell are you talking about?

    America is predicted to have everything paid off within 20 years. Canada? About 1000.

    RE:DMCA? The big oil companies and their lobbying.

    What about either is unconstitutional?

    RE: The total lack of representation or even thought given to groups of lesser influence or means. uhhuh.

    Western Canada wants a word with you about total lack of representation.

    RE:Oh, I guess the thing I'm typing this with is a figment of my imagination. How silly of me not to notice that. Gun? All you have to do is register.

    Then tomorrow, they confiscate. They've already lied about it and been proven liars.

    RE:Reverse-onus prosecution? I think you are a little misinformed my friend.

    Bill C-68. Try reading it.
  • by BluedemonX ( 198949 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @01:38PM (#413098)
    They've figured out how to turn American money into Canadian money! Just shrink 40%, kill off 40% of its value.

    Does it come with a crooked faced puppet screaming on about how it's from the best country on Earth?
  • is the amount of detail that isn't lost in the process, it actually keeps the form of the object reasonably well..
  • Yes... this stems from the time when coins were actually made from precious metals. Unscrupulous types would trim the edges off gold coins... Keeping the scrap and passing the original off at face value. This is also the reason why many coins today have "ridges" around their perimeter.
  • I would like to know if the "work coil" always explodes. If it does then this effect may not be "magnetic" at all but merely compression from the work coil exploding. If so, the same effect could probably be displayed with a SMALL amount of castable/formable explosive (i.e. a round shaped charge) as long as you could detonate on at least two sides simultaneously. If the work coil doesn't explode, or if it is shown not to be an explosive compression effect, then it would be interesting to see this used on steel or aluminum bar stock and then have it dissected to see if the "grain" of the metal has aligned to any extent (i.e. it was forged). If it did, THAT would lead to some intersting manufacturing possibilities.
  • Certainly, it becomes more dense. But remember, that's at 1G (give or take some flea-bitten percentage of error for where you are.)

    Were it a gas or liquid, it would bounce back to its original density, i.e. Boyle's Law.

    But since it retains that density as a solid I'm assuming the quarter isn't at its minimum volume, expanding some amount as the field collapses, to a sustainable volume for 1ATM/1G, assuming this is close to the most greatest density achievable. Repeat attempts would probably change the density very little. Soooo, like a compressed spring, would this quarter, given any amount of time (thousands, millions) in years eventually regain it's original density (under laboratory conditions of course :) ?

    In any event, this is going on the list of toys I need from Santa Claus this year. Better get crackin on that list...


  • and why would one want to use such a thing?

    To paraphrase some saying related to pricing...

    If you have to ask then you shouldn't have one.

    Clearly, it's the preferable alternative to going out in the California rain and putting quarters on train tracks.


  • by Exedore ( 223159 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @01:21PM (#413112)

    This is old school tech. I mean, c'mon, haven't you seen "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"?

    Speaking of that awful movie, does anyone remember the sequel, "Honey, I Blew Up the Kids"? Heh. I was driving by the local theatre a few years ago, when I saw a most unfortunate gaffe on their billboard. It seems they were showing the equally awful "3 Ninjas" at the same time, advertised on the line below, but they didn't have enough room to complete the title of HIBUTK... So the sign actually displayed the following:


    3 NINJAS

    I laughed so hard I almost wrecked the car

    Yeah, Yeah... -1 offtopic... I know.


  • So that's how Yuri Geller did that bending spoons trick...

  • Your first link [] is no good because it still the /.'ed the second one is ok, though. []

  • by OlympicSponsor ( 236309 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2001 @02:13PM (#413119)
    Not only can it shrink quarters, but it changes the "United States of America" to "Liberty".
  • what?? Buckyballs occur in nature. They've been readily available in fulgurites formed when lightning strikes the ground. C60 and C70 buckyballs are naturally occuring. We then figured out how to manufacture them. There was no amazing discovery there, just understanding what happens to carbon when it is temporarily turned to plasma.

    If you're gonna troll, at least try to have a better grasp on what your rambling about. Don't give bad examples when there are chemists lurking about.

  • I wonder if these guys came up with the device independantly? Or did they hear about Dale Travous device in Seattle back in 1991? It's mentioned here:
    Dale Travous, a professional artist in Seattle, was messing with Boeing Surplus discharge caps around 1990/1991. I told him about an old article in Rev. Phy. Inst. where the authors were crushing soupcans with a 1-turn copper coil. Dale came up with a device which he called... um... "the quartershrinker." He used it for several months to shrink pennies, then found that quarters were slightly more impressive, and the name "quartershrinker" was the one that stuck.

    It was written up by Gary Hawkins in the old "Extraordinary Science" magazine published by the now-defunct Int'l Tesla Society. His technique was identical to the one used by Bert Hickman.

    So is this a case of "100th monkey syndrome?" More likely the "quartershrinker" idea was spread by word of mouth.

    Another venerable website for electrodynamic shennanigans:

    RPI "Can Crusher"

    ((((((((((((( ( ( ( (o) ) ) ) )))))))))))))

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"