Photo credit: David Wallace, MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering; image source
Archimedes Death Ray
Although MythBusters® "busted" the myth that Archimedes ignited nearby Roman warships with reflected sunlight, students in MIT's Product Engineering Process course succeeded (high-res image). Check out Archimedes Death Ray: Idea Feasibility Testing for lots of interesting details and also a link to the MythBusters® follow-up.
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Atmospheric Processes: Radiation
Take a look at Atmospheric Processes: Radiation from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). You'll investigate how three different materials--water, light soil, and dark soil--absorb light energy.