I LOVE this idea: Some guy in England is trying to make a toaster. From scratch.

Not toast, a full-on toaster.

Thomas Thwaites is trying to construct a toaster from the most basic raw materials — hand-mined copper, iron, nickel and mica. He's even trying to arrange a flight out to the North Sea oil rig to collect raw oil to make plastic. Every coil, screw, bar, knob and dial will be hand-crafted from these raw materials.

So far Mr. Thwaites has been able to process iron ore into a small blob of actual iron using his mother's microwave. Here's a video showing how:

Step 1. Acquiring Iron Ore from Thomas Thwaites on Vimeo.

It's a great brainpoke for thinking about how detached we are from the things that make our comfortable lives possible. Most of us couldn't even fix a toaster if it broke, never mind the seemingly impossible task of building one from the ground (literally) up. It's the same detachment we have towards the oil and fossil fuels we use, the cows, chickens and pigs that we eat, and ultimately, the enormous impact that our First World lives have on the planet.

[The Toaster Project] via [Boing Boing] via [We Make Money Not Art]

Are you on Twitter? Follow me (@sheagunther) there, I give good tweets.

And if you really like my writing, you can join my Facebook page.

Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Making a toaster from scratch
You can buy a toaster from Wal-Mart for $9. That's too easy for Thomas Thwaites, who is making his from scratch.