Zapping weenies, Frankenstein-style

I first learned to cook when I was in Boy Scouts, which means that, in addition to learning how to use a stove, I also learned how to cook over a fire, in a homemade sterno oven, in a solar cooker, and in a variety of other bizarre ways. Given my eclectic culinary education, I thought that I knew every way that a hot dog could possibly be prepared.

I was wrong.

At Maker Faire 2008, a sort of science fair for grown-ups, the Nevada Lightning Laboratory used a couple of Tesla coils to cook a string of hot dogs. In addition to effectively heating up the weenies, the Tesla coils also wowed the audience by shooting out huge arcs of electricity, causing sparks to shoot between the dogs. While this might not be the most effective or cheapest way to cook, it is definitely the coolest.

These 10-foot coils were 1/12-size prototypes of a massive coil that the laboratory hopes to erect. Not only will this amazing device delight geeks and mad scientists everywhere, but it will also provide a platform for lightning experiments.

And, of course, it will be a really nifty hot dog cooker!

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He once considered the mechanics of jamming a hot dog into an electrical socket, but chickened out at the last minute.