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5 Absurd Solutions to Huge Problems (That Actually Worked)

#2. Clearing Snow With Jet Engines

If there's anything we know here at Cracked, it's never bet against a Sicilian when death is on the line, and never go to Russia in the winter. Especially if you plan on leaving. The Russian winters (which we were going to joke sounded like a new hipster band until reality beat us to it) have taken their toll on Russia's airports, and as you can probably guess, they make it extremely difficult to maintain the runways with traditional methods.

The Creative Solution:

The Russians are using the one thing that can be used to handle such a situation: mother freaking jet engines. Revel in this, world:

darkroastedblend
The only way to beat the Russian winter is to fuck it to death.

Those are Mig-17 fighter jet engines strapped onto traditional snowplows. They've been used throughout Eastern Europe for the past 50 years; apparently it's the only way to keep up with winter's raging iceboner.

darkroastedblend
One was a plane a day before retirement. The other, a snowblower with attitude. Together, they're a terrible pilot show.

In the 1960s the Soviets had such a snow problem on their train tracks that they were compelled to use jet engines to fix them. Eventually, jet engine snowblowers carried over to the States, where the MBTA (Boston's transportation authority) is using them for the same purpose. Dubbed "Snowzilla," the machine they came up with is used every year to clear Boston's train tracks from snow.

makezine
Leaving the Teletubbies to go solo was hard on Noo-Noo.

#1. Getting Boats Uphill With a Ship Elevator

Wikipedia

You know what sucks about water? How it and everything in it is gravity's bitch. When is the last time you saw water walking up a hill? Never. It's lazy. So imagine you're a boat. And you're flowing against the tide and you've got to go up a hill. Don't even think about it -- that violates every law of boat physics.

What do you want, a freaking elevator?

The Creative Solution:

Yep.

Wikipedia
The attendant gets tipped in $50 bills.

Boat lifts, or "lift locks" as they're also often known, are massive structures (shaped like elevators, oddly) that are capable of allowing ships and boats to traverse hilly inclines. The boat in question simply sails into the lift, which locks the boat and water in and then takes it all up to the connecting waterway at the top. It's not a new technique -- the first one ever built was installed near Dresden way back in 1789.

mikeclarke
What's particularly freaky about this model is how coffin-like the boats look.

Luckily though, not all of these things look like knock-off versions of Splash Mountain; some can actually be quite architecturally interesting. For instance, there's this one that looks like what would result from the bastard union of a toaster and HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey:

Wikipedia

Or this one that was constructed in Mordor, apparently:

Wikipedia
They must have hundreds of trolls working the machinery down there.

Mercifully, this unholy Scottish monstrosity, known as either "The Falkirk Wheel" or "That Thing That Inspired Saw," just happens to be the only one of its type in the world. If that thing does turn out to be a Transformer, it wouldn't surprise us in the least.

Mohammed Shariff writes more cool things at MoviePlotholes.com. Adam Wears also writes for his own site Alert Level Stork! as well as for Wordplague, an independent group of Cracked writers who recently wrote Deathbook.

For more ideas that scare us just a little, check out 5 Certifiably Insane Cold War Projects and 5 Famous Sci-Fi Weapons That They're Actually Building.

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