During the war my father worked on the development of RADAR. He was one of a number of RAF corporals who slept in a long hut with a pot-bellied boiler at the far end. There was a large steel sheet on the floor upon which was a smaller asbestos sheet carrying the boiler and a fire bucket.
Following an evening’s beery relaxation, all but one would go outside the hut and relieve themselves on the grass as bladder pressure built up. But there was one guy who insisted on relieving himself in the fire bucket.
Having access to some fairly substantial capacitors used to power the cavity magnetrons, the irked members of the hut connected a fully charged capacitor to the bucket and the metal plate.
The sudden crack of a discharging capacitor and the accompanying cry of pain at 02:00 hours signalled an end to the unpleasantness.
A friend did this to himself, back in the mid-late 1960's. At the time, he was living in the loft over a barn on some friends' ranch. Troubled with rodents, he built a trap powered by a rectified television (yeah, vacuum tube) power supply (~350 VDC) and some large electrolytics. One night, after much "beery relaxation", he went to relieve himself - in the wrong corner of the loft. Fortunately, the otherwise dry oak timbered floor didn't conduct enough to cause permanent harm...
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.