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Smoke is the thing that makes electrical circuits work; we know this to be true because every time one lets the smoke out of the electrical system, it stops working.
This can be verified repeatedly through empirical testing. When, for example, the smoke escapes from an electrical component (i.e., say, a Lucas voltage regulator), it will be observed that the component stops working. The function of the wire harness is to carry the smoke from one device to another; when the wire harness "springs a leak", and lets all the smoke out of the system, nothing works afterwards.
This reminds me of the time when I was a junior in high school.
My friends were graduating. I was driving a '70 something toyota corola coupe two door. It was a great little car to beat up and would not die. (great for a teenager!). I had my buddy drive while I threw firecrackers out the passenger side window at the highschool.
Well I had the bright idea to have him stop and I would light a full string of 100 or more and throw them out the window. Just after that thought is when it started to go downhill.
Now keep in mind this car is an automatic with the floor shifter.
So I light the string and get ready to throw them out the window and somehow drop them in my lap. haha right?
Well the car immediately began to fill with smoke and I couldn't even see the driver at this point. I tell him to drive so we can clear the smoke and possibly save face. Ummmm, No Go! We must have bumped the shifter during the firing frenzy. It was in neutral and would only rev up. Finally the firecrackers quit firing in my lap and his by this point. We realized that we were in neutral because we could finally hear something. We slap it into gear and try to speed off. Not being able to see very well but we knew what was happening outside. All we could hear is laughter coming from the school. People were hanging out the windows watching the display. In the courtyard laughing. You get the point.
Well we finally got away and assesed the damages. The entire car was filled with paper. It was four inches deep or deeper. ON EVERYTHING! It was deep on the dash, floorboards, our laps, the back seat even the hatrack in the back window was full of paper. Never did I know fireworks made so much paper.
My new stonewashed blue jeans had white spots all over them that were there permanently now.
It was a grand day. Needless to say I don't throw fireworks out the windows of moving (or non moving) vehicles anymore.
Sorry it didn't have anything to do with wires but it has plenty of smoke in the story.
More stories to come, they are starting to float to the top of my memory bank alot like a brown turd.
While smoke is a critical component in most forms of magic, heat and light are equally fascinating. When I was a teenager, my budget was woefully restricted (Ummm.... Oh hell, TELL IT ANYWAY!)
In Maryland (where I was much of that time) fireworks were hard to get. They were illegal in MD, so they had to come from somewhere else (I tell you this with my best cheesey grin on my face ) OR you had to think outside of the BOX...
Now - HIGHWAY FLARES were available just about anywhere (the plot thickens...) so it only remained to come up with a "DELIVERY SYSTEM".
Looking around my apartment bedroom I spied a tennis ball...
Now: flares have a self striker, and a tennis ball with a flap cut in it so that it could be closed over the hole that was made was a sure enough natural...
Stuffing a tennis ball with the innards of a highway flare was childs-play, as was the idea that the striker material went in last so that it could be easy to light.
I was kind of worried about just rolling it down the apartment parking lot though - so a test was required. (I SURE HELL didn't want to light a car on fire!!!)
So the one and only test case was in a culvert down in the bottom of the apartments that ran under the road. ~Yeah, it seems kind of chicken when I think about it now.
AND OF COURSE: It was at night.
Little did I realise the pure chaos that it would cause!
I DON'T KNOW WHO REPORTED IT....
Now, you have to visualise a glaring bright red light blazing from the storm drains on each side of the road, EVIL looking yellow smoke billowing from both ends of the culvert - AND it was within 15 miles of downtown Washington DC
(Oops! I hadn't even considered that...)
I think it was a four alarm call - all I know for sure was that one of my friends later told me "You really did it, this time!"
But being a thorough-going STONER among many stoners, it was eventually forgotten - and never repeated. The social irresponsibility of the seventies is difficult to describe
(he states, drily)
I was probably 16 years old back then, and other than the one buddy I never said a word to anyone else except "Wow! pretty cool, man..."
I was fairly sure the rubber casing and fuzzy felt coating would not take fingerprints and anyway - they were most likely consumed. It was one of those situations that you just wanted to get as much distance from as possible...
Here also consider that the initial ignition point was not more than one inch in diameter - but unlike the quarter inch cross-section of a common flare the inside of the ball allowed two or more inches of flare material to burn at a time, and they are rated at 30 to 45 minutes...
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