Scientific magic and the humble pickle
February 9, 2014 11:29 PM   Subscribe

You're not just gherkin us around, are you?
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:33 AM on February 10

Another green energy source!

Only literally, though, since apparently you'd have to disconnect two of your electric chairs to make up for lighting one of these chandeliers.
posted by univac at 12:39 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]

God it's been forever since I had a good pickle. The best I found were Guss' Half-Sours, which unfortunately are no longer sold in these parts, and may have been discontinued entirely.
posted by JHarris at 12:55 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]

This is a crude attempt at creating light based on the outdated model of particdill theory.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:47 AM on February 10

Was I the only one wondering what all those hissing, burning gherkins smelled like?
posted by kinnakeet at 2:38 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]

I can tell you from experience they smell like cooking/burning gherkin. I did this with single gherkins back in the 90's. It's difficult (bit of skill, bit of luck?) to get the whole gherkin to light up. They only stay lit for about a minute, if that. The smell isn't nice, but isn't really horrible and dissipates reasonably quickly. I'm not sure about thirty at once though.
posted by K.P. at 3:06 AM on February 10

Can you eat the gherkin after?
posted by tracert at 3:19 AM on February 10

I am sleepy so read this as MERKIN chandelier and was wildly intrigued/ horrified.
posted by angrycat at 3:30 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]

Can you eat the gherkin after?

I don't think you'd want to. It'd be unevenly cooked, mostly raw at one end and seared black inside where it was in contact with metal. Probably have a metallic taste too. You could probably safely force one down if you wanted.
posted by K.P. at 4:08 AM on February 10

In Japan, gherkin bulbs have been replaced by more efficient LEDs (Light Emitting Daikons).
posted by orme at 4:26 AM on February 10 [14 favorites]

You'd think the guys who made a freaking pickle chandelier would be able to make a video that had some levity or at least a little enthusiasm in it, instead of being douchey and aloof. Even if it's trying to parody the style of some of the snootiest haute cuisine videos, it doesn't pull it off.
posted by Jon_Evil at 5:05 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]

Oh man. I used to have students build pickle lamps every semester to learn about AC wiring. Saying it smells like cooking pickle doesn't do it justice. My go to was the illustrious Dr. Raymond Stantz - it smells like barbecued dog hair. That chandelier has got to be foul.

Also I dispute their assertions re: the suitability of the gherkin. My research suggests the smaller size and lower moisture content leads to unreliable light production (shown in video) as the liquid near the electrode evaporates faster than it can be replenished by the rest of the pickle. For the most reliable illumination I recommend full kosher dills, preferably purchased at the deli by school because oh shit, it's pickle day and I forgot that I don't keep a fully stocked pickle barrel next to the soldering irons. Again.
posted by range at 5:48 AM on February 10 [5 favorites]

Was I the only one wondering what all those hissing, burning gherkins smelled like?
Not me, I've wired up pickles before. Didn't know how much I was adding to my electric bill, though. Somewhat less smelly and more romantic is lighting LEDs on hot dogs.
posted by MtDewd at 6:32 AM on February 10

Electric Hot Dog cookers have been an actual commercial product.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:10 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]

Calling it the world's first reminds me of a Trivial Pursuit question I once had that was, "Which Las Vegas casino was the first to put an 800 pound gold statue of Socrates in the lobby?" Better to hedge your bets just in case someone else does it eventually, I guess.
posted by Copronymus at 9:56 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]

I have done this with pickles! I have WON CONTEST MONEY doing this with pickles (and the help of a cucumber, an ammeter, and a 150A shutoff switch painted bright red and labelled "OVERLY DRAMATIC ON/OFF SWITCH") as a "mr wizard" type demo talking about how it's the salt in water that makes it conductive. (This trick doesn't work with cucumbers, but does with pickles.)

I will tell you: the pickles smell HORRIBLE after a few moments.
posted by rmd1023 at 12:19 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]

Well which one was it?
posted by Carillon at 12:56 PM on February 10

NSFW sidebar on that site
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:51 PM on February 10

evoke a sense of wonder

No, evoking a sense of wasting a damn city block's worth of electricity.

One pickle=interesting and educational

A chandelier's worth=screw the environment for your entertainment and mine

Why do I even bother with recycling? My pittance can't change a damn thing. We pay a lot of lip service to individual's changing things for the better.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Ms. Judgy Macjudgerson. Where does waste stop?
posted by BlueHorse at 3:48 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]

The manmade version: cubical pickle, made of agar, doped with strontium nitrate.

You can see inside it while it's flashing. The light was magenta instead of yellow.
posted by billb at 10:27 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]

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