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March 18, 2012

MIT Tube Hack

This year in their early acceptance tubes, in honor of the 30th anniversery of the great balloon hack, the MIT admissions office sent a note encouraging us to hack our tubes.  Since there were an number of balloons included in the tube, I decided to make my tube hack a tribute to the the great balloon hack.  To fill the balloon, I built an electrolytic cell out of stainless steel washers.  When the cell is placed in water (with baking soda added to increase its conductivity), the current splits the water into oxygen and hydrogen.  This gas then fills the balloon.  When the oxygen-hydrogen mixture in the balloon comes in contact with a flame, the oxygen and hydrogen very quickly combust back into water, producing a very satisfying explosion.

March 16, 2012

Impossible Circuit

As you can see, the circuit consists of two switches, two LEDs, and a resistor in series (and yes, they actually are in series - there are no hidden wires).  So how does each switch control one LED?  Solution after the break: