Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Makes My Brain Hurt...

So, I'm sitting in the waiting room of my local Chrysler dealer while they work on the Earthf**ker, and the local news is on the TV. They're discussing the recent "explosions" at LAX, and how the person or persons responsible may be charged with setting off a destructive device.

That word you keep using; I do not think it means what you think it means.

Folks, someone put a chunk of dry ice into a 20 ounce soda bottle. The pressure from the expanding CO2 eventually burst the 20 ounce soda bottle. There is no destructive device, unless you consider the natural expansion of carbon dioxide to be a device.

This is a case where I could see a charge of making a terroristic threat or something like that - while the CO2 "bomb" wasn't a danger to anyone at any time (I suppose if you held the bottle to your face until it exploded you could put an eye out, but you'd really have to work at it), it could certainly have incited panic if folks thought a real explosive device was being used.

Back when I was a graduate student, we worked with dry ice rather extensively. Often, either late in the evening when few people were around or early in the morning before folks had had their coffee, we'd play around with a small piece of dry ice in a 2 mL plastic vial - drop in a small piece of CO2, cap the tube, then leave it on someone's desk in a corner. Wait a few seconds, the cap pops off and the person you have targeted gets annoyed...

It's not a destructive device, except possibly to one's concentration...

That is all.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

8 comments:

Roy said...

The first time this happened, the minute I saw the story I knew it was a prank.
We used to use liquid nitrogen and a 2 liter bottle. You pour about a 1/2 inch of LN2 into the bottle and cinch the cap down tight. It boils quite vigorously, but you still have about 15 to 20 minutes to make your getaway. When that 2 liter finally blows, it makes a very impressive bang - louder than a shotgun. (...and yes, I've actually done the comparison at a skeet range. I'm not kidding, it really is louder.)
Here's the thing... Nitrogen is a liquid at about -270F. When poured into a 2 liter, it freezes the plastic of the bottle until it's very brittle. When it blows, the bottle shatters into hundreds of tiny plastic shards. There is almost no evidence of it left over. And because Nitrogen makes up about 70% of he air we breathe there is no evidence of it either. Oh, and the bottle cap? Well, let me just say there are a few of them still in orbit right now.

Dave H said...

Anybody who thinks dry ice in a pop bottle is a destructive device has never gone fishing with calcium carbide.

Stretch said...

The CBS "news" station in LA reported "two plastic bottles containing the dangerous material."
Hey! Stupid! Your LUNGS are filled with the dangerous material.
How can you have SO much fail in one article?

Article here if you want to endanger you brain cells. http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2013/10/15/police-search-for-dry-ice-bomb-suspect-after-3-more-found-at-lax/

Evyl Robot Michael said...

Gah! It's been a long time, but I have pulled the dry ice in a plastic bottle prank on more than one occasion. It's harmless. It's good fun. It's not terroristic. It's not threatening! Why does my head hurt? Because I'm banging it on the keyboard!

BGMiller said...

Two liter bottle, a handful of dry ice, and an elevator shaft.

Pissed off a few bats.
Lit up the hotel's switch board.
Had my boss give the "I can't prove anything but...." speech.


Good times.


Heeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyy...........
The local grocery store sells dry ice in 5lb-ish chunks....

:)


BGM

Anonymous said...

Great now dry ice will be regulated like it's an explosive!

Old NFO said...

It fits the agenda to 'word' it that way...

Paul, Dammit! said...

We used to throw chunks of pure sodium in the Charles river close to MIT. With all the awesomeness so close by, no one even blinked when there were some good explosions. Tough crowd up that way.