Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Neighbourhood Distribution Cannon

Centralized Howitzer Dispersal Unit
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Construct a massive four storey, computerized cannon with the ability to lob one pound canisters a distance of about ten blocks. It has four barrels positioned at right angles, using some type of compressed gas for propulsion. On each rooftop within the cannon's radius, place canister recepticals measuring roughly one metre in diameter.

Inside the control room, the operator loads the mail into the canisters. He specifies the location and weight of the canister on the computer, then sends it up to the firing room via a vacuum tube. State of the art computer algorithms deliver the mail in perfectly parabolic fashion. (Except when a bird gets in the way, which would result in an altered trajectory, causing injury, property damage, or both.

Mail to be delivered arrives at the cannon daily via truck or short range urban ballistic missile.

Cuit_au_Four, Nov 10 2005

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       So sort of a giant pneumatic paper boy? It's interesting, but it couldn't replace conventional delivery services entirely because of the need to deliver items that aren't "cannon safe". This being the case, it would probably raise costs. Also, would be totally impractical to fire individual letters, so would have to wait until you got a batch with sufficient weight to follow a good trajectory, or introduce ballast to each delivery which would cost even more money.
DocBrown, Nov 10 2005
  
      
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