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Microwave Experiments Cause Sponge Disasters

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the can-it-dry-a-wet-cat dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 517

gollum123 writes "Reports about a study that found microwave ovens can be used to sterilize kitchen sponges sent people hurrying to test the idea this week — with sometimes disastrous results. A team at the University of Florida found that two minutes in the microwave at full power could kill a range of bacteria, viruses and parasites on kitchen sponges. They described how they soaked the sponges in wastewater and then zapped them. But several experimenters evidently left out the crucial step of wetting the sponge. "Just wanted you to know that your article on microwaving sponges and scrubbers aroused my interest. However, when I put my sponge/scrubber into the microwave, it caught fire, smoked up the house, ruined my microwave, and pissed me off," one correspondent wrote in an e-mail to Reuters."

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stupid people (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749222)

LOL

Re:stupid people (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749358)

Let my guess :-) - This happen in USA?

I went to publik skol :-)

Re:stupid posters (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749664)

I'll let your guess.

Dumbass.

Incoming lawsuits in: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749228)

3
2
1

Re:Incoming lawsuits in: (1)

nomi42 (879034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749320)

in that case, couldn't anyone file a lawsuit against the stupidity of the people who just tried it at home without thinking nor reading the full experimental protocol... I think Darwin's theory does not apply to human beings ... ;) Next user manuals for microwaves "please do not put a sponge in your microwave" ...

Re:Incoming lawsuits in: (5, Funny)

Aglassis (10161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749352)

Incoming lawsuits in: 3..2..1..

Actually it should be the opposite. Anyone who convinces the stupid to sterilize themselves or remove themselves from the gene pool through other means certainly deserves our hearty congratulations. In fact, they should be allowed to sue the stupid bastards they convinced to kill themselves.

I can see it now, billboards with signs saying: "a microwave is a great way to get a tan," "a blowtorch is a great way to thaw frozen pipes," and of course "it is cool to operate power tools--in the nude! Buy Budweiser!"

Truly, we need the stupid to start killing themselves again. With the advent of birth control, human evolution is starting to go backwards. In 100 years they will talk about the benevolent reign of George Bush the Wise.

Re:Incoming lawsuits in: (5, Interesting)

Skrynesaver (994435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749612)

Truly, we need the stupid to start killing themselves again. With the advent of birth control, human evolution is starting to go backwards. In 100 years they will talk about the benevolent reign of George Bush the Wise.
You raise a very interesting point, those who take advantage of the opportunities presented to them in western society tend to reproduce at a much lower rate than those who get hammered and start breeding while the more capable are still in education.

The fact that educated women want to establish a career before becoming mothers means that they start a family in their late thirties and consequently have fewer kids, sometimes they have no family at all as it is too late for treatment when they discover infertility issues. Basically the smart people aren't replacing themselves.

Fuck, I sound like some Eugenics Nazi but really stop running yourselves down, have a shower and go out and breed people!

Re:Incoming lawsuits in: (0)

BlueLightning (442320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749698)

I can see it now, billboards with signs saying: "a microwave is a great way to get a tan," "a blowtorch is a great way to thaw frozen pipes," and of course "it is cool to operate power tools--in the nude! Buy Budweiser!"

Don't forget "did you know: used motor oil can be used to fertilize your lawn".

As they say (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749232)

However, when I put my sponge/scrubber into the microwave, it caught fire, smoked up the house, ruined my microwave, and pissed me off.
The stupid shall be punished.

Clearly, evolution as a system has failed... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749238)

...for while, in the case of the bacteria, only the strong will survive, there is no corresponding negative feedback mechanism to remove those people (and I use that term loosely) from the gene pool that microwave dry sponges and complain that they should have been warned about the terrible, terrible consequences.

Wankers.

And this qualifies as a story? Next up, NEWS FLASH: People are stupid!

Re:Clearly, evolution as a system has failed... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749376)

In case of human IQ, the evolution feedback works in the wrong direction.
Generally, the more intelligent, well-educated and well-established couples get children at a later age, and get fewer of them.
The "dumber" and lower-class people reproduce faster, and there will be more and more of them.

This effect is clearly visible both on a global scale (developed/developing countries) and locally (lower/upper class).

Re:Clearly, evolution as a system has failed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749414)

No Is clearly a natural balance. Predators don't reproduce a lot.

Re:Clearly, evolution as a system has failed... (3, Insightful)

hasmael (993654) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749520)

You are implicitly supposing that IQ is a genetic trait, which may not be the case. Intelligence (or the develoment of) could be more related to social or monetary issues.

Re:Clearly, evolution as a system has failed... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749566)

In case of human IQ, the evolution feedback works in the wrong direction.
Evolution does not have any right or wrong directions. That's devolution fallacy. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Clearly, evolution as a system has failed... (1)

jnieuwen (524859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749588)

So you are trying to say that people with lower IQ's are more succesfull? Time to take another beer to kill those unnecessary braincells.

cat (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749250)

I tried to use the technique to sterilize the cat, and that did not work very well either!

Re:cat (5, Funny)

lahvak (69490) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749282)

Did you soak the cat in water first?

Re:cat (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749324)

Did you soak the cat in water first?

Ah, so that's why they throw witches in the lake before microwaving them.

Re:cat (1)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749536)

Yeah, I did. But cats don't like water, so he scratched my eyes out. Now I'm blind. Any more suggestions?

A bit silly? (4, Informative)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749256)

How else did they expect it to work? Of course you need the god-damn water in the sponge. Microwaves have a wave length measured in the centimetre. The size of a bacterial spore is a couple of orders of magnitude smaller The size of a bateria is a lot smaller than this again.

This means that if you wanted to destroy the blighters with radiation alone you have to choose a frequency a lot higher than microwaves, otherwise there will be areas in the minima of the standing wave that won't heat sufficently to kill the microbes.

The mechanism for steralisation is through the formation of steam that kills the majority of the nasties - not the microwave energy itself.

Simon

You're being naive/optimistic (4, Insightful)

246o1 (914193) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749268)

People do not understand microwaves. Berating them for not using their understanding of microwaves is like watching a Spiderman movie and saying "Why doesn't he just fly out of there?"

Re:You're being naive/optimistic (4, Insightful)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749316)

I think that analogy needs a bit of polishing.

Re:You're being naive/optimistic (4, Funny)

246o1 (914193) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749348)

It's all about expecting people to use abilities they don't have, like the ability to fly, or the ability to understand something complex they know nothing about. But just for you, I'll do a political version:

People don't understand microwaves. Expecting them to use their understanding of microwaves would be like asking President Bush to use his understanding of diplomacy.

Re:You're being naive/optimistic (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749372)

lol.. that was funny. incorect but funny. Not to pick, but bush probably has an understanding of diplomacy, just not in a way as some would like.

But that was probably one of the best bush jokes I have seen yet.

Re:You're being naive/optimistic (3, Funny)

Barny (103770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749508)

Nah, one from bash.org is the best....

TriPod11: bush ain't THAT bad...he kinda knows what he's doin
idaredbeet08: Please, Monica Lewenski had more President in her than George Bush ever will.

http://bash.org/?706281 [bash.org]

Re:You're being naive/optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749548)

Yeah. I get it - Bush is like Spiderman because he got us tangled in Iraq?

Re:You're being naive/optimistic (4, Funny)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749364)

Berating them for not using their understanding of microwaves is like watching a Spiderman movie and saying "Why doesn't he just fly out of there?"
Could this be the worst analogy on /. , ever?

Re:You're being naive/optimistic (1)

OlivierB (709839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749454)

Thought I was being a little slow before my morning coffee not getting the point.
If this isn't the worst analogy ever, I think it definitely makes it in the Top 5 funniest analogies.

Re:You're being naive/optimistic (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749684)

"Spider-man" is to "flying" as "Joe Average" is to "understanding how microwaves work".

That "whooshing" sound you heard is not Spider-man flying over your head, but, rather, the joke.

Re:You're being naive/optimistic (4, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749442)

People may not understand microwaves, but the original article I saw gave the following advice:

  • Wet the sponge first. Dry sponges will not heat evenly and may catch fire.
  • Keep an eye on the sponge while it is in the microwave and stop the microwave immediately if there is any sparking.
  • 2 minutes should be enough for most bacteria, but never microwave your sponge for longer than 10 minutes.

Maybe some news sources edited the article down to a short filler piece and left out some of these crucial details.

ironic for slashdot (4, Funny)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749518)

... but maybe some of the people didn't read the article :-)

How long in the microwave to become spiderman (1)

bxbaser (252102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749646)

and what type of spider?

Will i really be able to fly after that?

Re:A bit silly? (1)

zaydana (729943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749312)

Because the average joe always takes into account the wavelength of radiation, and how the bacteria is going to be killed. And they especially know that microwaves have a wave length measured in the centimetre.

Common people, cut the laymen a bit of slack. They were just following instructions the best they knew how.

Re:A bit silly? (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749424)

Yeah, the article is absolutely non-clear. I quote (from the original article): " Writing in the Journal of Environmental Health, Bitton and colleagues said they soaked sponges and scrubbing pads in raw wastewater containing fecal bacteria such as E. coli, viruses, protozoan parasites and bacterial spores. ".

Emphasis mine.... Draw your own conclusions, but I say it was pretty damn clear that the sponges should be wet. Apart from that, for the last 20 years, microwaves have been explained in basic high school physics class. Anyone under 30 should know how they work.

Re:A bit silly? (4, Insightful)

mlk (18543) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749514)

Taking just that one line
Writing in the Journal of Environmental Health, Bitton and colleagues said they soaked sponges and scrubbing pads in raw wastewater containing fecal bacteria such as E. coli, viruses, protozoan parasites and bacterial spores. ".

You could easily read that as if the soaking in wastewater was just to add some nasties to zap.

Re:A bit silly? (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749624)

You don't even need to that to have some nasties to zap. Just take the sponge next to the sink, it'll have all the nasties you need to zap: it's a bacterial breeder paradise. The researchers were going for overkill, which is very evident.

Conversion error. (5, Funny)

cuzco (998069) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749362)

We Americans measure our bacteria as fractions of an inch so the sponge fires were no doubt caused when people, in their germ kill potential calculations, screwed up while converting centimeter length microwaves to inches. Honest mistake.

But do _you_ understand? (4, Informative)

KnightTristan (882222) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749444)

... how else did _you_ expect it to work?

A simple question for you: water molecules, are they larger or smaller than the bacteria and spores to be killed?

Last time I've checked, the wavelength used in the microwave is about 12.5 cm. Sure, the bacteria are much smaller than that, but is it at all relevant?

KnightTristan

Re:But do _you_ understand? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749602)

Someone mod this dude up.

Re:A bit silly? (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749704)

How else did they expect it to work?

To the average person a microwave is a magic box which makes food hot. In theory without heating the container. (Except that heat can travel by conduction and some materials can be heated perfectly well by microwaves.)

Microwaves have a wave length measured in the centimetre. The size of a bacterial spore is a couple of orders of magnitude smaller The size of a bateria is a lot smaller than this again.

I'm not sure about bacterial spores being larger than live bacteria. A spore has no cytoplasm, just DNA in a tough shell.

This means that if you wanted to destroy the blighters with radiation alone you have to choose a frequency a lot higher than microwaves,

You also need a much higher radiation flux, bacteria (espcially inspored ones) can be quite tough. As well as there being a risk of mutating something harmless into something dangerous. The vast majority of bacteria cannot survive inside mammals in the first place.

lets be clear about this (4, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749262)

However, when I put my sponge/scrubber into the microwave, it caught fire, smoked up the house, ruined my microwave, and pissed me off,

He wasn't using one of those Sony battery-operated microwaves, was he?

Stupid People, Stupid Method (3, Informative)

StarWreck (695075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749266)

The microwave steralizes the wet sponge because it makes the water hot enough to kill anything living. The same effect can be had by dunking the sponge in a pot of boiling water.

Re:Stupid People, Stupid Method (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749342)

Yea, but then it would take longer then 2 minutes, would make us look super smart by using teknoligy to do something and we wouldn't have the scifi like atmosphere were the microwave oven "zaps" someting into being cooked.

It is kind of like putting your socks in it to dry them. because it can and somewhere i was told it was cool.

What is he whining about? (5, Funny)

Squapper (787068) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749276)

If the sponge caugth fire, the microbes are probably dead by now. Right?

This just in... (4, Insightful)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749278)

holding your breath underwater for 5 minutes cures stupidity. I take full responsibility for all results of home trials.

Re:This just in... (1)

AccUser (191555) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749336)

I can hold my breath underwater for just over 5 minutes. Does that mean I am not stupid?

Re:This just in... (5, Funny)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749402)

No it means he missed a '0'. 5 minutes cures only some forms of stupidity. 50 minutes cures all forms.

Re:This just in... (1)

GMontag (42283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749466)

LOL, I like your joke.

Almost anybody can hold their breath for .50 min. so everybody is quite bright by your measure!

Re:This just in... (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749700)

No; the point was outside the speech marks, so by convention it was not part of the reported speech.

Re:This just in... (2, Insightful)

AbRASiON (589899) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749648)

Bullshit! Unless your name is Threepwood.

Sounds like.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749286)

Lots of smoke? Smells like burning tires? Really pissed off? These people sound like Linux users trying to get their sound cards to work.

Re:Sounds like.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749330)

kekekeke, it's funny 'cause it's true.

Re:Sounds like.... (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749392)

LMAO.

Where are my mod points when I need them?

Not like it matters, since +funny = no karma and AC = can't get karma anyway.

Expected results? (0, Redundant)

What the Frag (951841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749288)

Putting the sponge on fire killed the bacteria, viruses and parasites on the sponge, right?

So why did he complain? I mean, many items do actually smoke when they're set on fire...

stupidity (1)

AndyST (910890) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749292)

From a darwinistic point of view, it would seam desirable that stupidity should kill (or sterilize, at least). I, however, have come the the conclusion that I'll need some stupid people around me to take care of some things. So I'll just be fine if stupid people identify themself as such from time to time.

Re:stupidity (4, Funny)

StarWreck (695075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749318)

it would seam desirable that stupidity should kill
Then it would "seam" time to meet your maker.

Re:stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749350)

Problem with stupidity is that you normally don't see it in yourself, only in others. I've seen countless instances of people thinking: I'm a computir programmor/mensa member/*so* intellectual/..., so it MUST BE the OTHER person who is stuuupid.

On the other hand, for some people that isn't too bad - if it weren't for stupid people they would probably be the end of their gene line.

Now that's news (1)

Life700MB (930032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749298)


People trying an experiment involving using the microwave at full power can get into trouble!

At least they didn't try to dry their dogs and cats.

--
Superb hosting [tinyurl.com] 200GB Storage, 2_TB_ bandwidth, php, mysql, ssh, $7.95

Re:Now that's news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749528)

At least they didn't try to dry their dogs and cats.
Been done before. I'd be more worried about people trying to sterilize their cats and dogs without soaking them first.

Re:Now that's news (0, Troll)

Zugok (17194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749550)

Mrs Premise: Busy!? I just spent four hours burying the cat.
Mrs Conclusion: Four hours to bury the cat?
Mrs Premise: Yes, it wouldn't keep still, wriggling about, 'owling.
Mrs Conclusion: Oh, it's not dead then?
Mrs Premise: Oh no no, but it's not at all a well cat and as we're going away for a fortnight, I thought to better bury it just to be on the safe side.

Class Action Suit (5, Funny)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749304)

Prepare for a Class Action Suit filed against Reuters, the Scientists who did this and news papers that carried it for the damages caused by the fires.

Out of the $100 million that will be awarded, $80 million will go the lawyers, $10 million towards court fees, etc., and the class action plaintiffs awarded a $15 coupon each that can be redeemed for a Microwave at Wal-mart.
 

How about the cows (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749306)

Irradiating sponges is ok but OMG, don't do it to beef!

Reference to Soaking sponge in water (3, Interesting)

madbawa (929673) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749310)

There's this method of execution shown in Tom Hanks' 'The Green Mile' in which the guy to be electrocuted is seated in the chair and a wet sponge must be placed on top of his head. Some guy (Percy) with sadistic intentions 'forgets' to do this and the poor convict burns to death in the chair.
Forgive me if its off-topic, but you can learn a lot from the movies...

No matter what you do... (3, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749314)

Note that even the original University of Florida press release [ufl.edu] begins
PLEASE NOTE: To guard against the risk of fire, people who wish to sterilize their sponges at home must ensure the sponge is completely wet. Two minutes of microwaving is sufficient for most sterilization. Sponges should also have no metallic content. Last, people should be careful when removing the sponge from the microwave as it will be hot.
*sigh*

Re:No matter what you do... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749346)

Simple. Ban all sponges. They are clearly dangerous.

That bloody squarepants thing should be locked up too.

Re:No matter what you do... (4, Informative)

rsidd (6328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749450)

From last paragraph of TFA --that's not the original release, that's the advisory the university issued after all these people burned their sponges.

Re:No matter what you do... (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749554)

I guess the GP should read, "No matter what you do...life makes you look like an idiot on Slashdot."

I had read the University of Florida press release on Wednesday at 1000 UTC, and the warning was already there, though there were as yet no media reports of the fires. So, naturally, I thought...

Oh, never mind.

Re:No matter what you do... (1)

Jacer (574383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749456)

Don't just read Slashdot for your news fix. According to the CNN article those instructions were added later.

Warning... Hot when heated. (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749326)

A sponge will be very very hot after 2 minutes at full power.

Next.. who will post this dry sponge on youtube/google video. please? anyone? Or just a good video what else fun you can d with a microwave:
-Light up a lamp.
-erase your CD. (extra points for CD-RW discs, bonus for AOL disks)
-Make it explode. mythbuster style... 8))

KIDS... don't do this at home.... (use the microwave of someone else )

People are just too damn stupid for their own good (4, Insightful)

OlivierB (709839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749356)

Back in good old days, many centuries ago, there wasn't any kind of this Politically Correct stuff and neither was there protection of the idiots. There was one rule: survival of the fittest.
If you made mistakes dumb enough to kill you , you didn't get anybody to pull you out and nature did its thing and eliminated the "idiot's" gene.
Of course this had nothing to do with real accidents, but in the long term idiots would dissapear.
Nowadays there is no personal responsibility. People do their own mistakes and blame it on somebody else.
This idiot should have had at least his genitals burned so we wouldn't have anymore kids.

Mind you, I am all about protecting and subsidising the weakest, the handicapped, the sick and al. I just believe that dumb people that bring it upon themselves deserve no attention and no compassion whatsoever.

Re:People are just too damn stupid for their own g (1)

mazarin5 (309432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749436)

Mind you, I am all about protecting and subsidising the weakest, the handicapped, the sick and al.

I think Al would be hurt if he found out you categorized him that way.

Re:People are just too damn stupid for their own g (1)

OlivierB (709839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749558)

I'm pretty sure Weird Al Yankovick won't mind. I think he fits the category like a charm.

Re:People are just too damn stupid for their own g (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749504)


> Answer truthfully (yes or no) to the following
> question: Will the next word you say be no?

This sentence I'm saying (writing) now is false.

Re:People are just too damn stupid for their own g (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749694)

but in the long term idiots would dissapear.
So how come there are so many idiots still around?

Applications accepted... (1, Funny)

Speed Pour (1051122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749378)

...for the Darwin Awards

Sponges...............$1
Microwave.............$60
Reading the article...Free

Burning down your house because you didn't read the whole article.....NOT Priceless
...but definitely stupid

Re:Applications accepted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749608)

Please mod -1, clueless attempt at humor

Re:Applications accepted... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749666)

In soviet russia, -1, clueless attempt at humor mods you!

Sterilising Baby's bottles (4, Informative)

REBloomfield (550182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749416)

of course, those of us with children and bottle sterlisers know that placing water and objects in a microwave leads to the steam cleaning them... "well duh" was my reaction when i saw this "news" item yesterday....

Re:Sterilising Baby's bottles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749616)

You may be over estimating the chances of the average /. member to breed

Most haven't realised yet that women do actually come in 3d

If all else fails, read the instructions. (5, Funny)

xav_jones (612754) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749420)

"Just wanted you to know that your article on nuclear fusion reactors aroused my interest. However, when I put my reactor into operation, it caught fire, levelled the neighbourhood, stained my carpet, and pissed me off."

Perhaps if you can't follow all the instructions there are some things you really shouldn't be doing.

Re:If all else fails, read the instructions. (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749500)

Actually it was done.
http://www.amazon.com/Radioactive-Boy-Scout-Fright ening-Homemade/dp/0812966600/sr=8-1/qid=1169721445 /ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-4470053-8023658?ie=UTF8&s=boo ks [amazon.com]
Unfortunately it was not done by someone stupid. It was done by a brilliant guy, who, today would be "stored" in Gitmo until he confesses.

next time... (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749452)

... i hope he sticks his fucking head in and rids us of his stupidity.

Pop Corn Kills Microwave (1)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749472)

Just a few months ago my friend put a bag of microwaveable popcorn into the microwave and left it for a few minutes. He came back and the microwave was smoking and the bag was on fire. Apparently the butter and kernels stuck together and burned. The apartment smelled for about 2 weeks (we could only open the windows a little at a time -- Canadian winter) and the microwave was ruined.

I think it's pretty funny that people tried this without wetting the sponge, however, I know many people that do not realize the nuances of how a microwave actually works.

Re:Pop Corn Kills Microwave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749590)

At least around here the instructions on the microwave popcorn bags explicitly warn you against leaving the microwave unattended. Now you know why!

Re:Pop Corn Kills Microwave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749686)

This is why you're not supposed to just walk away while making microwave popcorn. If it starts sparking, you're supposed to be there to stop it. This is not a microwave "nuance"; the microwave popcorn packaging explicitly says this. You and your friend did exactly the same thing as the guy in the article; you didn't read the instructions and ended up ruining your microwave. Congratulations.

Re:Pop Corn Kills Microwave (2, Interesting)

Bob Boswell (994763) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749692)

About 4.5 years ago a guy I later worked for had a new office/factory built. This freshly decorated building included a kitchen area with, amongst other things, a combination microwave/oven. Someone put a jacket potato in and cooked it for 20 minutes on the microwave setting. The room stank of smoke for months afterwards. The potato allegedly looked like a barbeque briquette.

Reminds me of a movie... (1)

Shadow-isoHunt (1014539) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749476)

Anyone ever see "Idiocracy"?

Re:Reminds me of a movie... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749716)

that's not even a real word, fag.

Not just the sponges.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749492)

Some people put a dry synthetic object in the microwave on high for two minutes?

I don't think it's just the sponges that need sterilization...

Re:Not just the sponges.. (1)

Bronnac (1055540) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749524)

Why do scientists come out with this crap? we've coped for years without putting a sponge in the god damn microwave, why now? do these Scientists have nothing better to spend other peoples cash on? Sack em!

ROSPA has it right (4, Funny)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749516)

They had this on the BBC yesterday too, I think in the morning they had suggested everyone microwave their sponges and then in the evening news they had a man with a ginger mustache from ROSPA who said that he wouldn't advise microwaving sponges because there is no setting on microwaves for sponges and that he for one didn't have the faintest idea what would happen if you did microwave a sponge except that whatever it was which happened would probably be unsafe and might cause an accident.

I found it very reassuring that ROSPA ( Royal Society For The Prevention Of Accidents ) does its research so thoroughly before making announcements.

Re:ROSPA has it right (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749598)

I found it very reassuring that ROSPA ( Royal Society For The Prevention Of Accidents ) does its research so thoroughly before making announcements.

The attitude here is "I don't know what will happen, so don't do it", which I reckon is pretty solid advice for preventing accidents. Unfortunately, I have no idea what will happen if I get out of bed and leave for work. It might be unsafe and cause an accident.

Re:ROSPA has it right (1)

DaveCar (189300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749662)


I heard about this on the BBC too, though I thought they ought to tell people to be very careful taking the things out of the microwave as they would be extremely hot (I could see someone putting a cloth on the tray directly rather than in a container like most foodstuffs and retrieving it with bare hands). Little did I realise that they would be falling well before they got to that particular hurdle.

Ignorance != Stupidity (4, Insightful)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749576)

Calling these people stuipd only makes you look like an arrogant asshole. For most people, a microwave is a black box contraption in their kitchen that makes food hot. Sure, they also know that you shouldn't put a fork or knife in, but have no idea why. This isn't because they're stupid, it's because they're ignorant about the inner workings of that particular machine in their kitchen.

Oh, but you say, taking things as fact without questioning why is a folly committed only by stupid people, thus making them ignorant. The two are really the same. I would then ask you why light is both a particle and a wave and why electrons jump to a different energy level when hit by the right frequencey of light. There's probably less than 1,000 people on the planet who can give a good answer to these questions, and unless you're one of them, you've committed the same folly as your average suburban mom - you still don't truly know why a microwave works.

Re:Ignorance != Stupidity (5, Funny)

Pikoro (844299) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749670)

You put a dry sponge into your microwave didn't you?

Re:Ignorance != Stupidity (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749676)

Calling these people stuipd only makes you look like an arrogant asshole. For most people, a microwave is a black box contraption in their kitchen that makes food hot.

no, they're not stupid. they put shit in a "black box that makes food hot" and it caught fire. WOW! color me surprised. I'd say that's pretty stupid. just yet another case of RTFM.

*sigh*

I'm pretty ignorant regarding lots of things, but I don't stick my fingers in an outlet, then act all surprised and shocked (pun intended?) that it zapped the shit out of me.

Re:Ignorance != Stupidity (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17749710)

Calling these people stuipd only makes you look like an arrogant asshole. For most people, a microwave is a black box contraption in their kitchen that makes food hot. Sure, they also know that you shouldn't put a fork or knife in, but have no idea why. This isn't because they're stupid, it's because they're ignorant about the inner workings of that particular machine in their kitchen.

No, it's because they're stupid. No knowledge of inner working of microwave required to understand that putting flammable things into a device that makes them hot IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.

So how is this better... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749606)

Than boiling the sponge in a saucepan? I'd have though putting it in boiling water for a couple of minutes should probably destroy most bacteria.

Re:So how is this better... (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749680)

The spongiform nature of the sponge makes a natural insulator - if you boil your sponge in a pan, the centre may well stay cool for a reasonably long time, especially if the sponge is already wet when you put it in.

The same principle is used for another kind of sponge. [wikipedia.org]

Using the microwave means that the sponge will heat on the inside as well as the outside.

How to really sterilise a sponge (2, Interesting)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17749706)

The only mention of water in the Microwave zaps germs on sponges article [cnn.com] was as follows.
Writing in the Journal of Environmental Health, Bitton and colleagues said they soaked sponges and scrubbing pads in raw wastewater containing fecal bacteria such as E. coli, viruses, protozoan parasites and bacterial spores.
Seems to me that only very stupid people would follow these instructions.

IMHO a better way to sterilise a sponge is as follows:
  1. Place sponge in a large, empty drinking mug
  2. Pour boiling water over it from a kettle and dunk it a few times using a spoon
  3. Place a small plate or saucer over the mug to retain the steam
  4. Wait until it's cooled
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