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Richardthughes



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 26 2007,14:22   

I'm looking to distress some copper to get a verdigris (cupric acetate?) effect. I've got some rough ideas but has anyone ever tried this before?

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"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
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ofro



Posts: 19
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: April 26 2007,15:39   

Quote (Richardthughes @ April 26 2007,14:22)
I'm looking to distress some copper to get a verdigris (cupric acetate?) effect. I've got some rough ideas but has anyone ever tried this before?

I presume that you are trying to form a patina on a copper surface.  If so, I have heard good things about using hydrogen peroxide, but I can't remember the reference.  But there are a bunch of leads if you google patina and peroxide.

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 26 2007,17:14   

Yes, I have.  Get copper, make sure it's quite clean of grease and suchlike.  Stick it above a container of vinegar, seal up, and leave somewhere warm for a few days.  You'll get a nice layer of green stuff on the copper.  
(Bear in minds it's a little toxic, so wear gloves.)

Quote
Theophilus says:
“Now if you want to make Spanish green, take thinned out copper plates, scrape them carefully on both sides, moisten them with pure hot vinegar without honey or salt, and lay them together in a small wooden chest in the same was as above.  After two weeks inspect and scrape them, and continues doing this until you have enough pigment.”

The comment same as the above refers to a previous recipe for making “Salt green”.  This requires coating the copper with honey and salt and placing them in a wooden box with hot vinegar, in a dung heap for four weeks.  Needless to say, this is a bit complex for what I want to do.  
So, with 5% acid distilled vinegar, a clay pot and some copper pipe, I set out to make Spanish green.  First I boiled the vinegar up, with the copper pipes in it.  No colour change, they were instead cleaned nicely of what dirt was on them.  So, the clay pot is now sitting wrapped in clingfilm beside a radiator, which is the closest I can get to a dung heap.  Will this work over the next couple of weeks?  I’ll let you know.  


The above is a blog post.  I am currently trying to re-create some medieval science and technology, for medieval re-enacting.  I have a furnace that reaches over 1100 degrees, with just charcoal and bellows.  I've recently made Nitric acid, and coloured clear glass with iron to make it green.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 26 2007,17:54   

Quote (guthrie @ April 26 2007,17:14)
 I've recently made Nitric acid

You, um, probably don't want to say that too loudly near the Homeland Security folks . . . . .

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Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 26 2007,19:47   

well, south americans (indians) used to drop copper in pots and piss on it.

no kidding.

after a while, the copper would get the green patina, and the "sauce" would be used as dye.

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"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2007,01:26   

Quote ("Rev Dr" Lenny Flank @ April 26 2007,17:54)
Quote (guthrie @ April 26 2007,17:14)
 I've recently made Nitric acid

You, um, probably don't want to say that too loudly near the Homeland Security folks . . . . .

What, you mean Nitric acid can be used to make terrorist materials?  I never knew that at all, thanks for that Lenny, I shall have to now go and make lots of it and test it in my back garden to terrify the neighbours, and then when they arrest me I shall have to blame it all on you for leading me astray....

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2007,03:35   

Ooooh chemistry!

Hydrogen peroxide makes wonderful oxides and hydroxides of copper (some green, some bluey green). The vinegar trick is good for making the acetates. Verdigris is a mix of oxides/hydroxides and a few other good things, although Cu (II) salts (like the acetate) are green/bluey green too. The acetate does a similar job.

Now the exciting thing is that nitric acid. The reason it's a potentially "naughty" chemical is because it is not only a great acid for dissolving bodies (it rapidly oxidises the DNA) but because it is a v strong acid, a strong oxidising agent, and in the right hands a (precursor to) great nitrating agent.

{THE FOLLOWING IS EASY TO FIND ANYWHERE ON THE NET OR IN ANY BASIC CHEM TEXT. I'M NOT EVEN GIVING OUT ANY DETAILS SO NO FITS OF TERROR PLEASE}

So some plant fertiliser (potassium nitrate), some car battery acid (sulphuric acid) (a "stronger" acid than nitric), some nitric acid and some glycerin (should be available from a decent pharmacist)  and with a little effort, knowledge and care you can have nitroglycerin. Swap glycerin for toluene and you can get TNT. Swap glycerin for farm fertiliser and you can have a whole slew of lovely nitrate based explosives (depending on what fertiliser you have) some of which will be highly unstable and touch sensitive. Remove the sulphuric acid and potassium nitrate and pout your nitric acid over cotton wool and you get gun cotton (nitrocellulose) which can be harmless fun. Then you can....

Perhaps I better stop. ;-)

Louis

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2007,06:59   

(Sound of Fatherland Security officers kicking down the door.  Sound of a brief struggle. Sound of car tires peeling away.)


Hey, where did Louis and Guthrie go . . . . . . ?

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Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2007,09:03   

Lenny,

I live in the UK. We don't report to your USa security types, we're a free nation..........

{sound of realisation}

OH FUCK!

ermm I didn't mean any of the stuff I said. Louis? Who's Louis? I'm Bob!

Lou...Bob

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Dr.GH



Posts: 2113
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2007,14:30   

We had a DEA guy visit our lab around 1974.  He looked into a chem safe and almost beshat himself.

He choked, "Do you know what you could make with that stuff?"

Sure we replied, we're chemists!

Edited by Dr.GH on April 27 2007,14:31

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"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
guthrie



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2007,15:29   

Making nitroglycerin isnt very clever.  It reminds me of the infamous anarchists cookbook.  I saw part of it on the internet once, it included recipes for making mercury fulminate using mercury from thermometers, and other really stupid ideas.  As far as I am aware, trying out half the recipes may land you in hospital, or worse.
Indeed, someone in my dads year at school was trying to make something, but he mixed it up and agitated it in a test tube, held by his stomach, so it exploded and he died later in hospital.  

On the other hand, i have a 1960's chemistry textbook which mentions how to make industrial quantities of potassium nitrate, and a 16th century book with instructions on how to make flamethrowers using a wooden tube, sulphur, gunpowder and some other stuff.  I shall try it at some point.

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2007,17:24   

Don't worry, Louis--er, i meant, "Bob"--when your secret trial is conducted, I'll appear as a character witness.

Well, if they allow you to communicate the date and place, which might present a problem.

I guess I could always just post my letter of recommendation to Guantanamo and hope it gets forwarded to the correct secret proceeding.

Or the Star Chamber, maybe?  Do they still have that?

In any event, not only would I be prepared to testify that you are indeed quite a character, but that we are similarly dedicated to civility as the highest moral rule.  Finally, I would point to your superior spelling, as exemplified in "verdigris."  While correct spelling is probably not quite so high on the politically-correct list as civility, it does assist with google searches.

  
"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



Posts: 2560
Joined: Feb. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 27 2007,18:03   

Quote (Louis @ April 27 2007,09:03)
Lenny,

I live in the UK. We don't report to your USa security types, we're a free nation..........

{sound of realisation}

OH FUCK!

Have a good time in Poland.


:)

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Editor, Red and Black Publishers
www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

  
Louis



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2007,10:58   

Guthrie,

I have a  copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook on my shelf.

Speaking in a purely professional capacity:

DON'T USE ANY OF THOSE PREPARATIONS!

There are key details missing from all of them, they suck big time. Some of them *might* work and give the products desired but not in anything like a safe or controlled way.

Nitroglycerin is easy to make but you really have to know how and the Anarchist's Cookbook is not the way to do it. Sure, you'll make some tiny quantity of impure nitroglycerin using that prep.......very briefly!

Mind you, those people not attached to their hands or other bits of their anatomy in any meaningful way should feel free to blow themselves up using it.

Louis

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Bye.

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 28 2007,15:57   

Quote (guthrie @ April 26 2007,17:14)
The above is a blog post.  I am currently trying to re-create some medieval science and technology, for medieval re-enacting.  I have a furnace that reaches over 1100 degrees, with just charcoal and bellows.  I've recently made Nitric acid, and coloured clear glass with iron to make it green.

That's dammed impressive, sir!

I've always thought about what it would be like to have a home lab of some sort, but I always envisioned a huge amount of red tape and permits involved (and a lot of suspicion.) Too bad that's the world we live in now.


{ps - Hey, and don't forget the really nasty explosives that are easy to make using acetone, acid, and peroxide.

Oh and another really easy one to make is ammonium triiodide. If it's dry enough, when you tap it ever so slightly it'll explode.}


--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2007,07:09   

Phonon,

I was straying away from mentioning propylene oxide and nitrogen triiodide, they are simply too easy to make. Unfortunately.

Things like nitroglycerin are relatively easy to make but require some skill, care and basic knowledge. NI3 (how do we do subscript?) and propylene oxide (and various fertiliser bombs) are vastly too simple for my tastes. A reasonably competent marmoset could make them*.

Another readily available and bloody dangerous compound is picric acid. When cleaning out an old prof's lab during my PhD we uncovered over a kilo of the stuff, crystalline, dry as a bone, mouldering in the back of someone's under hood cupboards. We had two choices: a) call the bomb squad (responsible and entirely appropriate) or b) wait until night time, pinch it, take it somewhere remote and heave stone at it until it went bang (irresponsible and bloody dangerous, esp as losing a hand/life was a real possibility given how little force it takes to detonate). Of course we all know which option me and the boys in the lab took.

Louis

*I conclusively demonstrated this during my first year undergrad by getting myself and several friends so drunk we had the IQs of marmosets and then making NI3. It really works, and if you have to make it people, for fuck's sake keep it wet until you need it.

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Bye.

  
guthrie



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2007,07:23   

Phonon- it is all actuall surprisingly easy to do, if you just have the time and a modicum of knowledge.  Also, there are a few good instruction books from the 12th and 16th centuries, translated with notes, not to mention old chemistry textbooks around that also have some useful information.  
The great thing about being an adult is that you can just go ahead and do all this.  However, were I to start making explosives or using large amounts of lead and suchlike, producing toxic fumes, my neighbours would get a bit worried and I might be liable in some way, possibly under the environmental regulations.  Come to think of it, I am operating in something of a grey area.  I shall have to look more into the legal side of things this year, because if I can get it working well enough over the next few months I could get some paying gigs that would pay for the insurance and help pay for my re-enacting hobby.  Not to mention selling castings that I do.  

My livejournal

Louis- I thought so.  Tha anarchists cookbook seemed rather short on information.  I am sure I have met someone who suggested it was an intelligence services plant, i.e. a way of drawing in people who were of such mind as to make explosives, and it would be easy to find them because they are in the casualty department missing a hand.  

As for ammonium triodide, thats what some supposed terrorists here  in the UK were going to use to make a bomb, allegedly IN MID AIR!  So they banned liquids on flights.  Talk about stupidity, making it in mid air during a flight would be impossible.

  
Bob O'H



Posts: 2132
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2007,13:51   

Quote
ermm I didn't mean any of the stuff I said. Louis? Who's Louis? I'm Bob!

Lou...Bob

Git.  I only just got out.  In the end I claimed I was called Dave, and was a highly trained marine with an IQ of 270.  That scared them!

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It is fun to dip into the various threads to watch cluelessness at work in the hands of the confident exponent. - Soapy Sam (so say we all)

   
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2007,17:16   

Didn't you just use your special Marine training to escape, Bob?

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2007,17:19   

Quote (Louis @ April 29 2007,07:09)
Phonon,

I was straying away from mentioning propylene oxide and nitrogen triiodide, they are simply too easy to make. Unfortunately.

Things like nitroglycerin are relatively easy to make but require some skill, care and basic knowledge. NI3 (how do we do subscript?) and propylene oxide (and various fertiliser bombs) are vastly too simple for my tastes. A reasonably competent marmoset could make them*.

Another readily available and bloody dangerous compound is picric acid. When cleaning out an old prof's lab during my PhD we uncovered over a kilo of the stuff, crystalline, dry as a bone, mouldering in the back of someone's under hood cupboards. We had two choices: a) call the bomb squad (responsible and entirely appropriate) or b) wait until night time, pinch it, take it somewhere remote and heave stone at it until it went bang (irresponsible and bloody dangerous, esp as losing a hand/life was a real possibility given how little force it takes to detonate). Of course we all know which option me and the boys in the lab took.

Louis

*I conclusively demonstrated this during my first year undergrad by getting myself and several friends so drunk we had the IQs of marmosets and then making NI3. It really works, and if you have to make it people, for fuck's sake keep it wet until you need it.

Oh yes, they warn you about picric acid nowadays. I never have used the stuff, but every year at the OSHA/EPA thingie where they hand out the chemical hygiene program, they bring it up briefly. They also tell the story of a guy who cleaned out a belljar using nitric acid (instead of HCl like he was supposed to) and put the nitric acid soaked paper towels in a 4L waste bottle that had acetone fumes in it. Then he sealed it and went home for the night. The next morning the pressure had built up and blam.

Ah, explosion stories.

My first really nasty explosion wasn't so large, but it spewed concentrated acid all over. I was trying to wash by centrifuge something that I thought I had carboxylated, but in fact I suppose I had nitrated instead. Well, when the centrifuge got up to speed, the tubes exploded, destroying the rotor and spewing nitric and sulfuric acid in a nice circular pattern, on one of my lab mates and all over papers. Lovely.

Then another time, at band camp, not, someone (not me) left the lab while distilling ether and the still had run dry. I guess there were peroxides built up or something, but when it blew, it sounded like a cannon going off.

And most recently, there are these samples of a certain carbon based material that will remain nameless that I had to react with potassium metal. They die in the air very quickly, but when they slowly "die" because there is a very little bit of air they go to a sort of metastable state. Then when air really hits them, they go off like a pistol. It literally sounds like a .45 going off. It's kinda cool, but it actually sucks.

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With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



Posts: 396
Joined: Nov. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 29 2007,17:29   

guthrie,

I tried to post this as a comment on your livejournal. I don't think it went through.

Quote
I'd just like to point out that if your acid was pH 1, then that translates to about a 1 molar solution. 70% nitric acid (before it starts fuming) is about 12 molar IIRC. Above 90% it starts fuming NO2 (red gas). Believe it or not, you can have negative pH. 12 M nitric acid would have a pH of -1.
pH = -log 12

But if you are checking with pH paper, you're not going to get a color that represents pH -1, so you're probably way more concentrated than 1 M. I'll bet you made 60-70% nitric acid.


Anyway, sounds fun. Keep up the good work.

--------------
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,03:05   

Ahh, thank you phonon.  
I do havea chemistry degree, but I do not recall them mentioning negative pH.  pH is the log of the H+ last I remember, so if there's no hydrogen in it...

The acid did dissolve some lime over the period of a few hours, but I'm trying to work out a more real time demonstration.  I don't really want to dissolve silver and then have to precipitate it and then calcine it, but I suppose I could easily enough.

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,03:36   

Guthrie,

They were going to try to  make NI3 mid flight?

BWAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!

I disagree that it wouldn't have worked chemically, but I think people would have noticed a few minor things like the 4 or so people it would take to make enough to cause any form of problem reeking of ammonia so strongly no one on the flight could breathe and sound of the hairdryers and rapid blotting of the NI3 with paper towels to get it dry enough quick enough, so I agree practically it would be "difficult"! What were they going to do then? Paint it onto the walls and hit it with a spoon? That would have just pissed people off.

I didn't know that was what the recent fluids ban on airlines was about. What worries me is I am now not sure who is more chemically illiterate and stupid, the terrorists or the security forces. You'd need a LOT of ammonia and a LOT of iodine to make sufficient NI3 to damage an aeroplane, the sort of quantities that are distinctly noticeable in either checked or carry on luggage. It's pretty low power stuff.

Anyway, if anyone wants to down or stop a plane all one has to do is look a bit asian, wear a shilwar chemise and mid flight turn on your old fashion ticking alarm clock in your hand luggage and start loudly shouting something that sounds a bit arabic whilst waving a Qu'ran and legging it up the centre aisle towards the cockpit. Pissing about with explosives is entirely unnecessary. The "heightened security" is in reality such an advanced state of total paranoia that being drunk and Indian is sufficient to cause the passengers of a plane to be so nervous you get booted off. 9/11 was not done with explosives or guns but by motivated people with knives. On a serious note THAT is the truly terrifying thing, i.e. how someone of sufficient fanaticism can dictate a situation to the detriment of a terrified group. It doesn't always work as the plane that never made it's target shows. A tragic event all round.

As for the Anarchist's Cookbook, I've heard the "government plant" stories too. To be honest, the information in there is very roughly correct as far as it goes but like you say, just sufficient for you to maim or kill yourself with all the convenient bits about how not to do this missing. Who put it there? Who cares! Just a tip for all you would be explosives manufacturers out there: don't use this book, it's crap.

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Phonon,

Tales from band camp eh! Nice.

I've never had an (accidental) explosion but I have had a Lithal reduction work its merry way up the condenser of the  5L reaction vessel it was in and decorate my fume hood.  I've been pretty lucky with accidents in the lab. But I know plenty of people who haven't.

As for your chum and his/her ether still. D'OH! Now there's a great example of a simple "benign" chemical process that has been responsible for more fires and explosions in chem departments world wide than almost anything else (liquid oxygen condensing into poorly sealed liquid nitrogen cooled cold fingers being another).

People treat stills, especially ether or THF stills with such blaze contempt it amazes me. You have an incredibly flammable solvent (flash point of ether is about -11 C IIRC) sodium or potassium metal (fun) and heat. You're distilling a solvent that SHOULD have a stabiliser in it to start with so that it is dry, degassed and no longer has this stabiliser in it. All in all a good recipe for a nice KABOOM!

Letting a still run dry is a crime, it can kill people as sure as drunk driving or similar can. Equally bad is not properly disposing of and recharging a still that is used regularly. One place I worked the standard practice was to simply add more sodium to a still that had stopped working well rather than dismantling and recharging it. I changed that practice! People forget that oxide and hydroxide coats build up on the metal in a still, over "metalled" stills are a really common source of fires when they come to be quenched because the safe practice of sequential quenching  (iPrOH then EtOH then MeOH the water) doesn't work well (in faxct this method is really only suitable for a "healthy and young" still). The oxide/hydroxide coatings only really dissolve well at the MeOH/water stage resulting in very fast reaction of the metallic alkali metal beneath and a nice fire with all that lovely flammable solvent.

Ah the joys of lab work.

Louis

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Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,04:10   

Quote (Louis @ April 30 2007,03:36)
...
I didn't know that was what the recent fluids ban on airlines was about. What worries me is I am now not sure who is more chemically illiterate and stupid, the terrorists or the security forces. You'd need a LOT of ammonia and a LOT of iodine to make sufficient NI3 to damage an aeroplane, the sort of quantities that are distinctly noticeable in either checked or carry on luggage. It's pretty low power stuff...

What would it take to "down" a comercial flight? Got to admit that I am uncertain*, so this is a question for you chemists.

Wouldn't just a little bit of strong acid be enough if the person using it knew what they was doing? ie: Had read the blueprints of that model of aircraft and just wanted to disable the aeronautic controls.

*=Not a clue.

  
guthrie



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,04:17   

I imagine a shaped charge on the cockpit door would do the job nicely.  remember Lockerbie was a few kilos of explosives.

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,04:35   

Quote
What worries me is I am now not sure who is more chemically illiterate and stupid, the terrorists or the security forces.


oh, I'm sure you're overstating your unsuredness.

the real question is:

who will win the twit of the year competition in the end?

Quote
sodium or potassium metal (fun)


ahh yes, brings back memories; one of my minor hobbies in HS was building scale model ships, drilling just the right size small holes in them, putting the right sized chunk of pure NA metal in them, then setting them afloat.  some of the explosions were worthy of B-grade cinema!  closely mimics what a powder magazine explosion would look like on a real ship, actually, but in miniature.

still fairly easy to get and cheap, but not as easy as it was back then, to be sure.

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
Louis



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Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,04:50   

Steve,

Yup a judicious use of acid would work. A suitably menacing friend, a length of pipe, a baby's bottle, some vinegar and some potassium cyanide would be all you needed to kill the cabin crew (at great personal risk I might add) and crash the plane.

One element is also sufficient.

Mercury.

IIRC mercury forms a lovely amalgam with the materials that the plane's fusilage is made from, over a relatively short period of time the material fails and the plane depressurises/crashes. It's why thermometers/barometers are banned on planes. The advantage of this is you don't have to be on the plane when it goes down, you can take your flight and go on your merry way.

However the trick is getting the mercury ONTO the plane as the guards are quite hot on it. I can think of a few ways that might work, all relatively low tech. However, since MI6 is undoubtedly now about to knock on the door to my work place/lab I'll shut the fuck up.

My point is that it really isn't that difficult to make any of this stuff, it is difficult to use it. In the case of NI3 the way it is made (very easy) and what it is made from (very available) are not the problem. The problem is you would need a lot of it to do any damage (it's low power, about the same strength as those "Devil Bangers" I used to get as kids, you know the little paper wraps with crystals in you throw at the floor), very obvious (the stench of ammonia is a dead giveaway) and very unpredictable (it doesn't take much more than a badly forming crystal to set it off sometimes). Nitroglycerin would be better (more powerful) but very unpredictable and easily detected (smell).

As for what it would take to down a plane, I don't know the strength of the fusilage of a plane so I don't know what it would take to make a decent hole in it (I doubt even this would down a plane). I'm as clueless as you are on the matter, although I guess I could work it out. Amazingly "Downing Airliners" was not a topic in my chemistry degree, although a vague "how to make" nuclear weapons was, curiously.

However, this strikes me as a massively inefficient way to down a plane. A couple of kilos of properly compressed and confined gunpowder would blow at least a window out I reckon (although I haven't done any calculations!), and like Guthrie said a shaped charge in the right place would do the job. Sorry I don't have numbers for you.

Louis

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Bye.

  
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,04:53   

Quote
However the trick is getting the mercury ONTO the plane as the guards are quite hot on it.


funny, but THAT is what I recall having prompted the liquid container ban.

someone either tried or realized that mercury would be a bad thing on a plane, even in relatively small quantities.

Quote
However, this strikes me as a massively inefficient way to down a plane. A couple of kilos of properly compressed and confined gunpowder would blow at least a window out I reckon (although I haven't done any calculations!), and like Guthrie said a shaped charge in the right place would do the job. Sorry I don't have numbers for you.


have you ever seen the show "mythbusters"?

they actually tested the "explosive decompression" idea by doing various things like firing a gun at the window, the fuselage, blowing the window out with powder, etc.

it took a MASSIVE charge to cause any serious structural damage to the plane, and just blowing out the window caused nothing more than a minor inconvenience; no explosive decompression.

this makes sense, as really you are talking about less than one atmosphere pressure differential.  it's just not enough to cause explosive decompression.

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,05:02   

Louis,
I was thinking about using an acid or alkaline to burn through the coating of the wires that control a planes flight. Pretty sure that would mess up an aircraft.

The reason this entered my head was the banning of liquids. It would be pretty difficult to make a shaped charge using liquid alone would it not? Although I am sure some genius could come up with a way to shape liguid using a suitable container/solidifier.

  
Stephen Elliott



Posts: 1754
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,05:09   

Quote (Ichthyic @ April 30 2007,04:53)
...
they actually tested the "explosive decompression" idea by doing various things like firing a gun at the window, the fuselage, blowing the window out with powder, etc.

it took a MASSIVE charge to cause any serious structural damage to the plane, and just blowing out the window caused nothing more than a minor inconvenience; no explosive decompression...

Yet special forces are given rounds that are relatively underpowered in their handguns when doing an in-flight rescue. The reason given is that it is prefferable for the "bullets" to remain in a perpetrators body, than pass through and into the aircraft.

  
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,05:19   

Steve,

NI3 isn't a liquid, one of the ingredients used to make it is a solution of ammonia in water, that's what makes it wet.

Since I've flirted with it anyway, the simplest way to make NI3 (for the people who don't know, this information is very easy to get hold of) is to get some solid elemental iodine, grind it nice and fine in a pestle and mortar and pour it into a solution of 0.88M ammonia in water (ammonium hydroxide). Job done. The you stir a bout a bit with a stick, wait a few minutes and scoop out what looks like the iodine you just bunged in. Take that solid and let it dry. If it doesn't explode when it's drying, it almost certainly will the second you touch it dry. If you made an ammonium hydroxide damp cake with it and then shaped it like a paste that might work, but IMO it would still blow up as you did this. The chances of you getting all this done on a plane without blowing your arm off/getting smacked about the head are small. The chances you could get enough material onto the plane to do any damage are tiny (checked luggage wouldn't work, it would go bang the minute it hit the first baggage handler!) because you'd need a lot (see Icthy's comment about Mythbusters above). In explosive terms this is using a pea shooter as an anti aircraft gun.

Shaping liquids? Silicone breast implants do pretty well! ;-)

I agree your acid idea is good (better still use a nice organic solvent to remove the plastics first causing all sorts of shorts and fires). The problem I have with all these ideas is they are "high tech" solutions to a very "low tech" problem, again see 9/11 as a case in point.

Louis

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,07:21   

Quote (Louis @ April 30 2007,03:36)
Anyway, if anyone wants to down or stop a plane all one has to do is look a bit asian, wear a shilwar chemise and mid flight turn on your old fashion ticking alarm clock in your hand luggage and start loudly shouting something that sounds a bit arabic whilst waving a Qu'ran and legging it up the centre aisle towards the cockpit. Pissing about with explosives is entirely unnecessary.

In the wake of 9-11 and the anthrax thingie, I had a discussion with my sister about this.  One of the reasons I think it unlikely that any mass-casualty terrorist attack will ever occur using chemical or biological weapons is that terrorists, even assuming they can make stuff of sufficient purity and lethality (and they can't), don't have any effective means to *deliver* it. Sure, they can spray it into a building's air ducts or smear it on the turnstiles at a subway station, but that would kill fewer people than a couple of hand grenades would.

The REAL effect of chemical or biological weapons is psychological, and to do that, terrorists don't even need an actual weapon.  All they need is a Cessna, a bag of ordinary baking flour, and a phoned-in anthrax threat.  That will shut down an entire city for hours, or even days.  


In general, the "threat" of terrorists (particularly in regards to their use of chemical/bological weapons) is massively exaggerated.  Honeybees kill far more people every year than terrorists do.

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guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,08:16   

I disagree, Lenny.  The Aum Shinrikyu attack in Tokyo only killed a handful of people because they fluffed making pure sarin.  
However, I still think it likely that most possible terrorist attacks will end up goign nowhere, but it will be possible to do some nasty stuff.  Look at the terrorists in Iraq- using Chlorine tankers as weapons.  

Louis- as far as I am aware, making a mercury amalgam requires some heat.  (Alchemists were quite keen on it)
Hence merely taking it into the aircraft wouldnt work.  
If you want to know more about taking down airliners, just go and look at Lockerbie.  
But modern ones have a huge amount of carbon fibre reinforcement, titanium struts and different aluminum alloy s from what htey used 20 or 30 years ago.

  
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,08:16   

Ahhhh the old "Cessna and flour" routine. Fond memories!

Louis

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,08:28   

Lenny,
The success of a terorist atack (normally*) has very little to do with casualty numbers. Usually it is more about the terror caused. The 9/11 atacks where incredibly successfull from the POV of a terorist.

In the aftermath of the twin towers/pentagon strike the USA shut down all domestic flights. A massive PR coup on behalf of the organisation that carried that atack out.

The best answer to such an atack is probably to laugh about it and carry on as normal. Mind you, that would have been somewhat difficult the day after 9/11 and all those casualties.

* Numbers do actually matter a bit, but the disruption is more important

  
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,08:29   

Quote
Louis- as far as I am aware, making a mercury amalgam requires some heat.  (Alchemists were quite keen on it)
Hence merely taking it into the aircraft wouldnt work.


Depends on the metal with which you are making the amalgam. In essence you're right, but mercury slithers about and creeps into seams and nice little nooks and crannies and hangs around reacting slowly. Also planes get quite hot in some places. This is the problem it doesn't have to be a "synthetically useful" process (i.e. useful on our preparative time scale) it just has to hang around being slowly "corrosive", that's in fact why it is so dangerous. It's almost impossible to track down and get rid of, it ruins planes. In fact IIRC (and this might be wrong) if a plane gets mercury spilt in it and anyone find out the plane is grounded/junked. Although like I said that last bit might be crap.

Louis

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,08:37   

Quote (Louis @ April 30 2007,05:19)
Shaping liquids? Silicone breast implants do pretty well! ;-)

I agree your acid idea is good (better still use a nice organic solvent to remove the plastics first causing all sorts of shorts and fires). The problem I have with all these ideas is they are "high tech" solutions to a very "low tech" problem, again see 9/11 as a case in point.

Louis

Wow. My ignorance is showing. The removal of insulation is what I thought that acids/alkalines would be good for (oh, and eating through the protection [other than the insulation] in the first place).

Breast implants falls into my idea of using something else to create the shape does it not?

  
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,09:27   

A bloke in a pub explained to me how the IRA got its way partly because it was able to cause a billion pounds worth of damage by bombing the city of london, compared to a minimal cost to those who did the bombing.  So after a while the gvt worked out it was cheaper to start talking than keep up the security.

  
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,09:50   

Steve,

Quote
Wow. My ignorance is showing. The removal of insulation is what I thought that acids/alkalines would be good for (oh, and eating through the protection [other than the insulation] in the first place).


No it isn't! Acids/alkalis can do this for some plastics and not others. I was just being a bloody chemist!

Quote
Breast implants falls into my idea of using something else to create the shape does it not?


They do indeed fall precisely into that idea, which I why I mentioned them......mmmmmm breast implants. ;-)

Louis

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Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,09:58   

So we all seem to be of a consensus:

1) Terrorism causes more damage and achieves its goals better by disruption and fearmongering than actual physical harm to people and property.

2) Explosives = good, if used properly.

3) Planes are fucking death traps, run in fear and hide and never leave your house again.

4) Blokes in pubs are great sources of very accurate information.

Anything to add?

Louis

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,11:27   

Quote (guthrie @ April 30 2007,09:27)
A bloke in a pub explained to me how the IRA got its way partly because it was able to cause a billion pounds worth of damage by bombing the city of london, compared to a minimal cost to those who did the bombing.  So after a while the gvt worked out it was cheaper to start talking than keep up the security.

Is that a good thing? Personally I am in two minds.
1) It is better to talk than kill.
But also
2) The IRA represent a very small % of NI citizens and don't deserve government level talks. It can be construed as rewarding violence.

  
guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,12:05   

Of course, Stephen.  But, a cost ratio of 1 to 100,000 soon begins to bite.

Louis- I have omitted the name of the bloke in the pub, lest I be accused of name dropping.  I am after all no Creationist.

  
Alan Fox



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,12:17   

Quote
In fact IIRC (and this might be wrong) if a plane gets mercury spilt in it and anyone find out the plane is grounded/junked. Although like I said that last bit might be crap.


I am sure you are right. I recall a friend who is a commercial pilot mentioning this a while ago. (He had an old empty mercury barometer, and we were talking about where he could get some mercury as replacement)

  
Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,12:42   

AH! Even better! An IMPORTANT bloke in the pub. Well now, that just ups the level of "truthiness" in my book.

After all if Kent Hovind came up to me and "Listen pal, the world's six faaaaahsand years old innit. Must be true, bloke down pub said".

I'd have been sceptical but pretty convinced. If he'd said "Important bloke!" I'd have converted on the spot! ;-)

Louis

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,13:45   

Quote
The reason given is that it is prefferable for the "bullets" to remain in a perpetrators body, than pass through and into the aircraft.


there are other reasons you don't want bullets in your aircraft than explosive decomp.

there are lots of sensitive electrical and hydralic lines running throughout.

hit a hydraulic line with a bullet...

plus, while not explosive, you do still get decompression, and at high alititudes, that can make it a bit hard to breathe and cause other problems besides.

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,14:31   

Quote (guthrie @ April 30 2007,03:05)
Ahh, thank you phonon.  
I do have a chemistry degree, but I do not recall them mentioning negative pH.  pH is the log of the H+ last I remember, so if there's no hydrogen in it...

The acid did dissolve some lime over the period of a few hours, but I'm trying to work out a more real time demonstration.  I don't really want to dissolve silver and then have to precipitate it and then calcine it, but I suppose I could easily enough.

Hmm, instead of silver, I'd use copper. It's still cheap even though the price is going up, but a small spool of copper wire is nothing.

And if you want to reduce metals from their salts (or some other form) and if you want to stick to the medieval metallurgy methods, you can smelt them. I think smelt is the right term. You heat them in the presence of carbon, usually charcoal or graphite. You can probably make your own charcoal with that furnace of yours.

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Stephen Elliott



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,15:42   

Quote (Ichthyic @ April 30 2007,13:45)
Quote
The reason given is that it is prefferable for the "bullets" to remain in a perpetrators body, than pass through and into the aircraft.


there are other reasons you don't want bullets in your aircraft than explosive decomp.

there are lots of sensitive electrical and hydralic lines running throughout.

hit a hydraulic line with a bullet...

plus, while not explosive, you do still get decompression, and at high alititudes, that can make it a bit hard to breathe and cause other problems besides.

Well yes,
That was kinda what I was saying (or trying to). The force required to blast an aircraft out of the sky (while fairly small) is much larger than what would be required if it (explosives/acids/mercury etc) was placed methodically by somebody with expert knowledge.

  
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,16:20   

yeah, suffice it say we don't want no m'fing guns on no m'fing planes!

apologies to SLJ.

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guthrie



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,16:35   

Quote (phonon @ April 30 2007,14:31)
Hmm, instead of silver, I'd use copper. It's still cheap even though the price is going up, but a small spool of copper wire is nothing.

And if you want to reduce metals from their salts (or some other form) and if you want to stick to the medieval metallurgy methods, you can smelt them. I think smelt is the right term. You heat them in the presence of carbon, usually charcoal or graphite. You can probably make your own charcoal with that furnace of yours.

D'oh!  Thanks, I should have thought of that myself.  I happen to have some small bits of copper lying about, from when they put my heating in.

I'll try charcoal eventually, but really I need to make a metal box.

  
phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,16:35   

Quote (Louis @ April 30 2007,03:36)
I didn't know that was what the recent fluids ban on airlines was about.

I think there were certain explosives that can be gels.

 
Quote
9/11 was not done with explosives or guns but by motivated people with knives.

I recently took a trip. One of the rules was "no lighters." That's understandable, but then they told me if I wanted to light something (like a cigarette) that I could use matches.

Huh?

Oh, but not strike-anywhere matches, sir. You must use safety matches.

Oh, ok.

{boggle boggle}

And, yes, the old get-covered-in-oxide-so-you-can-be-a-ball-of-dangerous- alkali-metal-waiting-to-start-a-fire trick! They'll do it if you let them. But if you keep it under nitrogen (which one should do while killing a still) there won't be as much of a fire hazard.

Or you could blow the $5000 and get one of those drying column set-ups. I wish we had one.

 
Quote (Ichthyic @ April 30 2007,04:53)
   
Quote
However the trick is getting the mercury ONTO the plane as the guards are quite hot on it.

funny, but THAT is what I recall having prompted the liquid container ban.

have you ever seen the show "mythbusters"?

they actually tested the "explosive decompression" idea by doing various things like firing a gun at the window, the fuselage, blowing the window out with powder, etc.

it took a MASSIVE charge to cause any serious structural damage to the plane, and just blowing out the window caused nothing more than a minor inconvenience; no explosive decompression.

If you had a shampoo bottle of mercury in your bag you'd know it. A liter of mercury would be about 13.5 kg.
 
Quote
have you ever seen the show "mythbusters"?

they actually tested the "explosive decompression" idea by doing various things like firing a gun at the window, the fuselage, blowing the window out with powder, etc.

it took a MASSIVE charge to cause any serious structural damage to the plane, and just blowing out the window caused nothing more than a minor inconvenience; no explosive decompression.
Did they shoot a frozen chicken through it?  :)

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To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,16:55   

Quote (guthrie @ April 30 2007,16:35)
D'oh!  Thanks, I should have thought of that myself.  I happen to have some small bits of copper lying about, from when they put my heating in.

I'll try charcoal eventually, but really I need to make a metal box.

You could make a bit of copper nitrate, which is a very nice green color, and use it to color some of your glass, perhaps.

Damm, now I need to find a hobby that involves fire.


He he Fire! Fire!

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,18:13   

Quote (guthrie @ April 30 2007,08:16)
I disagree, Lenny.  The Aum Shinrikyu attack in Tokyo only killed a handful of people because they fluffed making pure sarin.  

Nah, they only killed a handful of people because their, uh, "delivery system" consisted of poking a hole in a plastic bag with an umbrella tip.

They could have just dumped the pure stuff out on the floor, and it still would have killed only the people in the immediate vicinity.  Again, they could have killed far more people with a couple hand grenades and maybe an AK or two.

If it's REAL mass casualties you want, you need an aerosol delivery system capable of covering a large area at once with a pretty high doseage.  And, despite all the idiotic talk you hear about "crop dusters", no terrorist group has anything like that.  Or is likely to in the near future.

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Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,18:22   

Quote
Or you could blow the $5000 and get one of those drying column set-ups. I wish we had one.


I've used them. I have to say I don't reckon they're as good. Oh I know the analytical guys reckon they are just as good but they miss a few key things once in a while (like activated alumina causing THF to ring open!).

Anyway, my ether didn't taste right, so I prefers my still!

I'm such an old fashioned guy.

Louis

P.S. Keeping still under nitrogen? I like it! Tell me stranger, where do we get this "nitrogen"? Oh ok I'm being daft. Obviously you quench a still under an inert atmosphere, I should have been clearer, the danger bit is when you think the still is quenched and out from the inertness it comes. Obviously good lab practice means you leave it under N2 for a good while, but you know chemists. Most of us will take it out just to see if it DOES go bang!

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,18:25   

BTW, if Dr Dr Dembski is reading this and decides to run to the FBI and do his civic duty, please feel free.  It's been a little while since I got a new page in my FBI file, and even longer since I got visited by the guys in the big black Lincolns.

:)

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,20:13   

Quote
Did they shoot a frozen chicken through it?


nawww, different episode.

;)

they did end up pretty much completely obliterating the plane in the end, with a couple hundred pounds of black powder, IIRC.

you know, just for the "boom".

it was a pretty complex rig; they had huge blowers setting up the pressures just right in the cabin, multiple pressure sensors, even an expert in shape charges on hand to experiment with.

that show is quite educational, on occassion.

and you get to watch things go boom.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: April 30 2007,20:48   

Quote (Ichthyic @ April 30 2007,20:13)
that show is quite educational, on occassion.

and you get to watch things go boom.

There is a show on the G4 network that airs on Saturdays, I think, called "Brainiac", that comes from the UK.

It's like "Mythbusters" on steroids.  Definitely bigger "booms".  :)

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phonon



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(Permalink) Posted: May 01 2007,16:51   

Quote
that show is quite educational, on occassion.

and you get to watch things go boom.

I do remember an episode where they blew up an entire cement truck. It was pretty impressive.

Ah, found it on gootube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynZxVErTovg

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To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

  
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 01 2007,17:30   

Quote
There is a show on the G4 network that airs on Saturdays, I think, called "Brainiac", that comes from the UK.


how do you get that in FLA?  do you have satellite?

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 01 2007,17:44   

It's on my local cable.

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 01 2007,20:58   

you local cable gets UK channels?

interesting.

maybe i should finally spring for digital cable.  they sure don't carry stuff like that on the local analog cable.

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Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: May 02 2007,04:36   

Brainiac is very low brow compared to Mythbusters, but does regularly destroy caravans which is a Good Thing.

Louis

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 02 2007,07:06   

Quote (Ichthyic @ May 01 2007,20:58)
you local cable gets UK channels?

No, but G4 repeats some years-old BBS series.

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 02 2007,07:12   

Quote (Louis @ May 02 2007,04:36)
Brainiac is very low brow compared to Mythbusters, but does regularly destroy caravans which is a Good Thing.

Louis

I do like Professor Myang Lee and her floating fruits, though . . . .

;)

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Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: May 02 2007,09:51   

AH but Lenny, she IS a professor, it's the most highbrow bit of the show.

Louis

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"Rev Dr" Lenny Flank



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(Permalink) Posted: May 02 2007,18:33   

Quote (Louis @ May 02 2007,09:51)
AH but Lenny, she IS a professor

Alas, she isn't --- she's really an actress named Rachel Grant.

I still like her fruits, though.    :)

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Louis



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(Permalink) Posted: May 03 2007,03:42   

Quote
Alas, she isn't --- she's really an actress named Rachel Grant.


Maybe in YOUR world, Denial Boy!

In MY world she's the Polynesian Professor of Lurve.

Louis

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BWE



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(Permalink) Posted: May 07 2007,15:31   

I could never remember whether you were s'posed to put the acid in the water or the water in the acid.

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When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

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Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 07 2007,16:33   

the former.

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BWE



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(Permalink) Posted: May 08 2007,01:05   

smartass.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Ichthyic



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(Permalink) Posted: May 08 2007,01:27   

where? where?

:p

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BWE



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(Permalink) Posted: May 08 2007,01:41   

As a matter of fact, I'm quite sure it's the latter. Just make sure you always wear those safety glasses. :)

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

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Richardthughes



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(Permalink) Posted: May 08 2007,19:36   

Best TV EVER!

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