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What's The Best Way to Melt Lots of Snow?


Photo (origin unknown) via Dark Roasted Blend's pretty nifty article Lots of Snow!

Engineer Jeff the Baptist and victim of the recent Snowpocalypse has a problem: he's got a huge pile of snow in front of his house. Being an engineer, naturally he wants to use noggin-power to solve this problem:

My first thought was to sprinkle them liberally with rock salt. The problem is they're big enough that putting enough salt in place might be troublesome. My second thought is that the biggest piles are on my lawn and any salt will end up on or under my yard. I'd rather not salt my own fields as Rome did to Carthage.

My second thought is to stab some aluminum strips into the heart of the larger piles. Aluminum is an excellent heat conductor and is available in a number of forms at the local hardware store. If I can find some cheap strips (preferably black), I can essentially conduct heat into the heart of the pile. I could put them in in the morning and then pull them when I got home so they wouldn't cool the piles during the night. Not sure if they'd work, but it might be neat to try.

Thoughts from my fellow nerds?

I propose a flamethrower. How about you? Link - via The Zeray Gazette

Top 3 best/funniest answers will win T-shirts from the Neatorama Shop. Be sure to write your which T-shirt you'd like with your entry!

Update 2/24/10 - Great entries, guys! Congratulations to Brad ("Al Gore"), Zavatone ("Jet Engine for melting snow on railroad tracks"), and Lola ("Call Vancouver").

Coal dust, topsoil, or any other dark-colored powder that can be sprinkled on the snow to absorb solar radiation.

Trying to melt the snow with fire or electricity will be very expensive. The energy cost would be huge.
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I second eosha - when I was a kid we always put ashes from the woodstove on the icy patches in the driveway. Biodegradable, and non-toxic (assuming you didn't burn toxic things to get the ashes.)

Alternatively, tromp down a spot in the middle and have a bonfire party.
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eosha is close, but steer manure is the absolute best item to put on the snow. It contain enough natural ionic material to melt the snow on it own and will also absorb sunlight. When it is done, a quick sweeping off of the side walk and your grass is ready for spring growth.
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eat spicy food and go outside and breathe on the snow!

i would love the The Difference Between Science and Magic is that Magicians Usually Know What They're Doing shirt.
http://shop.neatorama.com/product-info.php?difference-science-magic-tshirt-pid447.html
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Make 2 snow people, one male, one female. Point your stereo speakers out your open windows and play anything by Barry White or Prince.
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Vodka poured on top of the snow. Plus sides - works quickly and won't refreeze at the temperatures you are working in. Down sides - your sidewalk smells like the night after at a frat house, and you still don't get to drink all of the alcohol.

Biology, Chemistry and Physics Explained - XL
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I have a similar problem with ice build-up on the concrete (that's always in shade) of the playground at my school. I want to put charcoal in coffee cans and just move them around as they melt the ice. When the kids are gone, of course.

Do you have a giant coffee can?
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Play recordings of speeches from Congress.... all the hot air will melt the snow in no time! As an added bonus, you become famous for making Congress actually useful for something!
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Really what needs to be done:
A. This house needs to maintained all winter. No one is living in it so there is no hope and it was not intended to be shoveled out.

B. If maintained, the person responsible for shoveling must dig snow moats around the frame of the structure after each storm to create a place to deposit snow collected from the roof.

C. 10 foot sheets (about 2 feet wide) of plexiglass or other similar material can be used with a partner to razor the snow from the roof after each storm. The snow then deposits into the moat.

D. Another moat must be dug.

E. Rinse repeat. It's not about melting it's about digging with strategy and that's snow geekdom for ya
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Just run out and buy a couple of brand new, top of the line snowmobiles! Sure enough, you will immediately see sunny warm days, and won't have ANY snow until after the the last payment is made and the warranty runs out. (personal experience here....ouch!)
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Take large sheets of clear plastic and 2x4's (or PVC pipe), build a simple framework large enough to enclose the area you want to melt plus some extra space for air, and adhere the plastic sheets to the frame, creating a simple greenhouse. This could be combined with your original aluminium bars idea if needed. (You might need to as you'll want to give the light something to absorb it rather than reflect.)
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0. Make a 28 snowballs.
1. Place them in two pyramidal stacks, at opposite ends of the snow pile
2. Wait until school is out.

Old Skool XL Please
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Go to your local hardware store. Buy black garbage bags or a large roll of thick black plastic. Lay the black plastic over the piles of snow.

After everything melts, you can reuse the plastic as a slip-n-slide.
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To quote Jamie from Mythbusters "When in doubt: C-4". Duh. I find it fixes most of my problems around the house.

or Phil Hartman from SNL playing Frankenstein's Monster "Fire - Burn".

Large: I love math (3-d graph)
OR Mmmm Pie
OR "Busted"
I'm not picky.
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Dig a hole in the center. Tell Meghan Fox there's a camera man in the hole. And watch as she sweats so much she heats the pile
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Use Snooki from "Jersey Show".

I've heard her tanned glow can double as an ice melter and bug killer.

T-shirt: Love/Hate Ambigram - Men's L
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Offer you services as a dog walker. Train all the dogs to pee on that pile. Quickly it will disappear. Don't expect grass there in the spring though.

Math Puns Are The First Sine of Madness - XL
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I would just use my dog Gabbie and the table scrap treats i'm not supposed to know she gets. The smell that comes out of her butt can melt your face in seconds so no amount of snow could withstand her.
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Connect a garden hose to your hot water heater and "water" and lawn. Job done. It should take about an hour depending on the air temperature. You may have lots of ice but no more snow. Besides, your house and lawn won't be crispy burnt (flame thrower idea), have dead-sea-salinated soil (salt), be littered with icy gopher holes until May (aluminum strips), a wilting cardboard impotent Al Gore that won't go away (where's the warming beef?), a sick/fat/diabetic dog or kid (various syrupy snow cone flavors), a dehydrated dog (say NO to yellow snow), next spring's litterbox (in hot wood-ashen gray) or your own landfill (plastic is bad).
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Try the Archimedes approach.

Take a lever long enough and fulcrum on which to place it, and move the world - not a lot, just tilt it forward a little until the Northern Hemisphere faces the sun.

Then wait.
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you can borrow my boyfriend. He's always pretty flatulent and his backside will provide plenty of methane that you can light on fire and melt it all in a jiffy!

(mmmmm . . . pi)
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What you probably want is a bobcat with rubber tracks (so you don't ruin the grass, assuming you get down that far. Then just quickly physically remove it.

Alternatively, you could plan for the Olympics to be in your yard. The snow will disappear immediately.
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Go into cryogenic storage with the machinery set to revive you once the snow is gone. Elapsed subjective time to melt snow from the entire landscape: two minutes. Possible side effects: frostbite, dementia, death. It might be worth it.
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Hire some dumb kids to shovel it for you. Take out a chess board, and put a $1 bill on the first square (fold it up or something). Tell them that was for the first scoop of snow they clear out. Then tell them that you will put $1 for every doubling of scoops they remove. Assuming the kids could move one cubic foot of snow per shovelful, you would only end up having to pay them $m to remove the geometrical summation defined by:
sum (2^(n-1)), n=1 to n=m.

For $10, they would have to move 1023 cu ft of snow.

This trick is a shamelessly ancient tactic, usually utilized to rob dumb rich kings of all their money (or rice).
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Go invite 100+ people and ask them to bring their magnifying glass. They all together can melt the snow easily using magnifying glass and sun shine.

Send me M size.
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Sell the snow by the bag-full on ebay as part of the "Historic Snowpocalypse", right next to the Doritos Cheese Pope Hat and the Jesus Toast.
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Spread out the piles, increase the surface area for the sun to hit and then sprinkle sand - silica? - on top to hold the sunlight's heat.

Bam! Liquid Snow.
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Take all the aluminum and tin/steel cans from your recycling and paint them with black spray paint and distribute them on the tops of the piles. If you want a more flame based solution you could always add some sterno or white spirits to the inside of your cans and light 'em up. Sterno can burn for hours and added to the black painted exterior you should have plenty of pile melting BTUs.
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Sharks with Lasers on their heads

Initial thrashing and firing of the lasers will allow the sharks to penetrate the drifts. As they swim through the now melting snow, the size of the drift will diminish. As with any bioremediation type of solution, the sharks will have to be disposed of as well. The lack of water should take care of this. Add cats as needed to remove the carcasses.

For those of you who are thinking that sharks need saltwater, the salt that you threw into the snow when you tried to melt it initially should have brought the salinity up to required 35 ppm.
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Compel Disney (here in Orlando) to take it for free

they pay huge sums to make fake bubblesnow here to simulate winteryness

thanks to climate change it wouldn't melt much today
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If I'm not too late, I would like to add another practical solution.

Instead of salt, use granular fertilizer. It will melt the snow just as well and, obviously, help the lawn instead of killing it.

XL of Neatorama Science, please.
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3xl tshirt please
announce to the world that you are undecided politacally. they will all come to talk and talk and talk and talk and talk to you.

Call Obama and ask for disaster relieft and maybe you can move into a fema trailer many warm miles away.

Tell your ex-wife her child support payment is there under the snow by the foundation....

call the FBI and let them know that this is where Jimmy Hoffa is supposed to be buried.....
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Get all of the US politicians to come over to his house and talk about how Global Warming is not a real issue. That should generate enough hot air to melt ALL of the snow for miles around....
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Take a extra large heavy duty Tarp fold it in four and make 2 inch hole in middle. Spread over the snow pile and put some weight and burry the loose ends of tarp under snow & bring a large portable compressor attach its exhaust via 2 inch flex fire & heat proof hose insert in tarp let the engine run for couple hours heat from exaust will melt the pile.
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