Make: Online is featuring a number of first-hand accounts of failed projects, big and small. The first in the series is about Sean Michael Ragan's attempt to make a combination light fixture / goldfish bowl. I don't see any failure here. This looks like a big win, especially since Sean used a rubber goldfish, which is probaby impervious to suffering.
First problem: the globe on my porch light was frosted and I sure wasn't going to spend good money to buy a clear one. Clever solution: Etch the frosting off the globe I had using 50% concentrated hydrochloric acid. It worked great! And generated only 1000 mL of toxic chemical waste!Failed project: goldfish in a light fixture
Next problem: I didn't want to use actual water in the globe. This was an electrical device, after all, and as Newton's Third Law teaches us, water + electricity = bad. So I settled on mineral oil. Which is, you know, flammable and stuff, but, hey, at least it wouldn't short anything out or cause rusting. I glued the fish and the plant to some rocks, arranged them tastefully in the bottom of the globe, and poured in the oil.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.