I found this tutorial the other day on making your own biodiesel with common household products. It kind of makes me wish I had a diesel powered car to try it on, but alas I'm going to have to keep searching the internet for a tutorial on how to make my own 87 octane bio-unleaded before I can begin to play mad scientist. I fear someone will have to invent it first, however. And this does remind me of one anonymous relative who I'm told once tried to cook up some home made rocket fuel. And unless I've got the story wrong, it somehow involved mixing it with a shovel over an open flame. Nothing was ever blown up or incinerated, and to my knowledge the FBI doesn't have a file regarding the incident.
Anyway, in 1898, Rudolf Diesel was granted a US patent for his invention of the diesel engine but did you know that his original intention was for his engine to run off vegetable oil? He even marketed his invention to American farmers as a way for them to grow their own fuel.
Also interesting, perhaps even more interesting, is this site where you can read/view a scanned copy of the original handwritten A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Unfortunately his handwriting is so poor and there are so many revisions that it is nearly illegible. So there's no telling what the story was really about. I'm convinced that on page forty three there's something about aliens and all three ghosts playing rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock for control of the earth. If you can't make it out to Manhattan to view the manuscript for yourself, this is the next best thing.