Amateur science is a wonderful thing, but it's got to be kept in check, people. Building your own space balloon or cataloging the local wildlife? Great! Taking a dump in your basement and trying to turn it into gold by heating it until it catches fire? Um.
A man in Northern Ireland was arrested after his turning-my-poop-into-gold alchemy project set fire to his whole block. The operating hypothesis is that Paul Moran, who will serve three months in jail for this bit of idiocy, left his own "faeces" (the Queen's English! Paging Kat Hannaford!) on a heater along with a bunch of other gross stuff, like fertilizer. Then, presumably, he went off to make more. And of course, it caught on fire and burned a bunch of houses.
The judge presiding over the case had an agreeably deadpan soundbyte: "It was an interesting experiment to fulfil the alchemist's dream, but wasn't going to succeed," he told Mr. Moran, which is just about perfect, though it could probably do with a Tywin Lannister reference. [Yahoo UK]