Tag Archives: NASA

Infernal Machines

Matthew Inman from theoatmeal.com did a great piece on “Why I Believe Printers Were Sent From Hell To Make Us Miserable” that is both hilariously funny and true. Printers fall into the category I call “Infernal Machines”, to me this covers any device that despite all the technical advances of our modern society we have been unable to make it function properly (or at all). By function properly I mean work. Some recent experiences have highlighted another device that fits into the infernal machine class, that being the not so humble toaster. Whilst Matthew suggests printers are from hell, I believe each toaster when made is then inhabited by the soul of a dead criminally insane individual, who can then continue harassing us for eternity (or a least as long as you own a toaster).

How does a toaster when left on the same setting with the same bread produce such random levels of browning from raw to incinerated? The settings on a toaster appear to be to be either a random number generator (the random number being the number of pieces the toaster will burn), or an ingenious dial where the cooking level between each setting say 2-3 or 3-4 is either based on a logarithmic or exponential scale. My toaster seems to alternate between the two but has a leaning towards an exponential scale.

Same toast, same setting, WTF??*
  A – Ingenious dial with either logarithmic or exponential settings. B – Who knows what the fuck these do? It’s a toaster, you should put toast in and it should cook it. My phone has less buttons than this.

Clearly Jasper Fforde’s Toast Marketing Board have serious quality control issues. The idea that a toaster can consistently produce pieces of toast that meet your requirements is as absurd a stapler (another infernal machine) that works properly. The only chance I think we have of saving the toaster is if the boffins and NASA decide that their astronauts need some nice warm toast whilst in space.

Astronaut Steven Smith loves his toast thanks to his NASA toaster.

It would take several decades and about $50 million to perfect but no doubt it would work perfectly (or destroyed in a large explosion on first use). If they make a cordless drill that looks like this:

NASA cordless drill

I would expect their toaster to look something like this:

NASA toaster

 It might weigh 35kg and use more energy than the sun produces in one week, but I strongly believe it would produce the perfect piece of toast. Something not dissimilar to this:

Perfect toast, nom nom.^

On a final note whilst looking for some images to steal for this post I came across this toaster. It’s the Rowlette Rutland Premier 4ATS-151 4 Slot Stainless Steel Toaster. It retails for £124 or $186 AU (roughly $5,000 US) and looks like the kind of toaster that says I’m going to toast the fuck out of your bread. I have a feeling it may be based on valve technology instead of the solid state electronic crap we use today. Basically, until the NASA toaster is ready sometime around 2025, I want one.
Rowlette Rutland Premier 4ATS-151 4 Slot Stainless Steel Toaster
Remember, enjoy toast in moderation.

* Just a photo of different toasting levels. If you thought I’d actually done an experiment on this and recorded the results you’ve clearly over estimated me.
^ Not my problem if you like your toast darker or lighter. The NASA toaster has only one setting, perfect. The NASA toaster pictured above is actually someone’s home made PC, clearly they have far to much spare time on their hands.
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