You can use a microwave without a door, but you shouldn't

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/03/09/you-can-use-a-microwave-withou.html

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You can also stare into a laser beam with your remaining eye, but…

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From an article about the inventor

One day, while Spencer was working on building magnetrons for radar sets, he was standing in front of an active radar set when he noticed the candy bar he had in his pocket melted. Spencer wasn’t the first to notice something like this with radars, but he was the first to investigate it. He and some other colleagues then began trying to heat other food objects to see if a similar heating effect could be observed. The first one they heated intentionally was popcorn kernels, which became the world’s first microwaved popcorn. Spencer then decided to try to heat an egg. He got a kettle and cut a hole in the side, then put the whole egg in the kettle and positioned the magnetron to direct the microwaves into the hole. The result was that the egg exploding in the face of one of his co-workers, who was looking in the kettle as the egg exploded.

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And he never had to buy birth control afterwards.

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Not much of a superpower, but at least it doesn’t come with great responsibility.

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after Grant stopped being the primary content creator, TKOR went downhill - slowly at first, then much more quickly.

RIP buddy.

the door also makes your microwave oven compliant with FCC part 15.

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Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should

Mathematically, almost all of the “Things You Can Do” are, in fact, “Things You Should Not Do”.

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Lugging around a microwave oven with the door cut off, just to fight the energy aliens and their horde of kill-bots, can get tiring.

Fortunately, there are portable x-ray guns.

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Where were these portable x-ray guns when I needed them – at the age of nine, when I stood alone against alien invasion!?

Happily – and I am not making this up – I remember the Amateur Scientist’s do-it-yourself x-ray machine, a surprisingly simple hack using vacuum tubes. I don’t have the A.S. article at hand (book of collected articles published 1960), but the Internet provides:

An Inexpensive X-ray Machine

From an old radio tube, some copper wire, and other inexpensive materials — total cost: roughly $20 — you can construct an X-ray machine that will make good pictures through an inch of wood. SAFETY MEASURES THAT YOU MUST OBSERVE. Notes on Röntgen’s invention. Highlights of X-ray theory.

Harry Simons of 118 Windsor Street, Kearny, N.J., is a lonely amateur scientist. “For 23 years,” he writes, “I have been dabbling in the X-ray portion of the electromagnetic spectrum without once coming across a fellow amateur. Thousands of enthusiasts can be found in the region of radio waves, of light and of gamma rays. But none of them come to play in my back yard. If the prospect of exploring fresh electromagnetic territory sounds interesting to any of these amateurs, I can promise good hunting in the 10-8-centimeter region — and for a total investment of less than $20.”

http://www.noah.org/science/x-ray/stong/

fig228

Update:
The Scientific American Book of Projects for The Amateur Scientist
Section IX. Optics, Heat, and Electronics; Chapter 3. An Inexpensive X-ray Machine
Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 60-14286
© Copyright 1960 by C. L. Stong

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One of my Granny’s was… a little different. She complained about a lot of stuff, so we were always kinda shifting back and forth between trying to please her or trying to talk her down from whatever crazy thing she was on about.

Back in the early 80’s, we bought her a microwave as a present. Her first one. From the beginning, she complained that it didn’t work right but… we blew it off. Eventually, we traded her microwave for our microwave, which we knew worked correctly. So, the first time I used her microwave, instead of hitting the off button before opening the door, I just opened the door, which turns off the microwave, right? When I opened the door, the light stayed on, the fan stayed on and it kept making the same noise as with the door closed and running. Scared the crap outta me. We finally figured out that it was just the fan that continued running but it was freaky.

and she was right. Her microwave didn’t work worth a crap.

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Having watched the whole thing, the fact that the guy kept saying that the door “bounces the heat around” really irks me. It’s not bouncing heat anywhere and the door isn’t keeping any heat inside. It’s not a regular oven. The door keeps the microwaves from escaping, and those are what generate the heat, but there is no hot air inside a normally-operating microwave heating your food. You can prove this yourself by, y’know, just using your own microwave and observing that there is no wall of cook-your-food-level hot air that greets you when you open the door.

The microwave we had when I was growing up was similar (it probably dated from the late 70s to early 80s). It had a big physical “on” button where more modern microwaves have a door release latch, which often startled the crap out of friends who came over and pushed the button thinking it would open the door.

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I had an older coworker that told me they used to stand in front of the military microwave dish to warm themselves up.
And I had another coworker that told me they used to spray each other down with agent orange to cool themselves off during the Vietnam war.
In both cases, while it might not have been general knowledge at the time, I really can’t believe I would have done either. One was a defoliant and the other just doesn’t seem like a good idea to do more than once by accident.

I try to keep the door closed on anything that gets nuked.

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One of the presenters gets it correct at 4:52…

OTOH she sits in the line of their ad-hoc directed energy weapon. Granted it’s non-ionizing radiation, so that relatively brief exposure is unlikely to cause more than a slight increase in the risk of melanoma and cataracts, but I predict a glitchy future for their phones and cameras.

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I wonder what home insurance they have…

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Given how destructive they were to the door, (a hacksaw isn’t an angle grinder, btw) it seems like just lopping off the safety-teeth and jamming them into the latch would have been way quicker…

I don’t know how much thought I’d given to defeating the safety interlocks on a microwave prior to reading Infinite Jest.

This is a required sign in any science lab that uses lasers…

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Given our last microwave was replaced when it decided those safety features were optional after years of use… it would probably be quicker and easier that way

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