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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Holiday fun -- tossing leftover fruit cakes with trebuchet

Not sure what to do with that rock-hard holiday cake riddled with fluorescent fruit? Fling it! But don't just hand toss that fruit cake, use medieval missile-hurling machinery called a trebuchet. Unlike a catapult that operates on tension or torsion (a heavy rubber-band is used for scale models), a trebuchet uses a counterweight as its energy source. I got the one pictured from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSM&T) in Rapid City for purposes of experimental design. However, I never considered using it to launch fruit cakes like they do at city celebrations in Pepin, Wisconsin. The record for flinging these unappreciated holiday confections is claimed by Manitou, Colorado at their Great Fruitcake Toss -- over 1000 feet! This was done not by a trebuchet, but an "air powered pneumatic device." Perhaps this could be the gift for the gadget-loving guy who already owns everything -- useful for getting rid of unwanted holiday gifts.


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