Thomas Thwaite is an inspiration; he wanted to learn true self sufficiency, based on a quote for Douglas Adams: "Left to his own devices he couldn't build a toaster. He could just about make a sandwich and that was it." So Thwaite built a toaster from scratch. Treehugger covered it, but now TED makes it a very funny video.
See our previous coverage:
If You Wish to Make a Toaster from Scratch, You Must First Invent the Universe
The Toaster Project: Art Student Builds a Toaster From Scratch : TreeHugger
Minus Oil: The 50 Year Toaster vs the Five Dollar Toaster