I admire the chutzpah, the audacity and the huevos of those folks who would do the research to conceive, construct full-scale, and then experiment with such a contraption. They've managed to sling automobiles, hand-shaped stone spheres ("cannonballs") and even a dead bovine several hundred feet or yards, at times with great, if not scientific accuracy. Hedonist Burning Man attendees aside, those who have done such give me pause - could I be having more fun in my life in addition to that that I am afforded by collecting and studying and recording words and phrases as I do on Wordie? I say yes.
The trebuchet is cool. I respect the trebuchet. If they want to shoot burning things out of their trebuchet that's cool too. But don't set the piano on fire. Even an old broken piano that doesn't have any hope of being fixed deserves the respect of being properly taken apart and junked. You wouldn't set the body of your dead sister on fire and shoot it out of a trebuchet. That sort of thing just shouldn't be done. There's a sort of basic decency with which you treat beautiful things, even in old age. If it's a perfectly good piano it's more like rape. It's been created for a beautiful purpose and all these recreants can think of is to destroy it and violate it for their own miserable pleasure. For God's sake, don't set the piano on fire.
Milosrdenstvi: Being somewhat of a pianist, I too cringe at the thought of hurling a piano to its death in a playa in the Black Rock desert of Nevada, USA, or anywhere, for that matter. Pianos have histories, and perhaps feelings, too?
I just wanted to comment that in the Middle Ages, flinging burning livestock corpses with trebuchets et al. was par for siege warfare. I could describe why they did this, but someone will undoubtedly chunder (perhaps myself).
c_b: Understood, but even laying aside that we are in many ways past the Middle Ages, having replaced the barbarity of the trebuchet with the machine gun, the atomic bomb, and international terrorism -- livestock corpses are livestock corpses. If it hadn't been set on fire and launched from trebuchet it would have been eaten, if not by one creature then by another. Even if it is somewhat hork-inducing I can abide a flaming livestock corpse. But for God's sake, don't set the piano on fire.
Oh, I wasn't trying to poke anyone with a stick. I'm appalled by the destruction of musical instruments and, for the record, the desecration of corpses. Just pointing out that it's been, you know... done before.
I worked at a Renaissance fair for a couple of seasons many moons ago, and the directors had invented something they called a pigapult, which flung Nerf-based "pigs" at a stage during a stunt show (the "pigs" "exploded" by landing near pre-loaded black-powder flashpots). They were shocked when I told them that this was actually done in medieval warfare—well, the pigs weren't Nerf-based then, of course—because they thought they'd invented this silly whimsical thing. *shrugs* Nothing new under the sun.
(Though if there ever is, I'm pretty sure bilby could find it on the Web and put it on my WTF list.)