Explore other star systems' habitable zones -- and our own billions of years hence

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The Circumstellar Habitable Zone Simulator provides detailed views of six star systems known to have exoplanets. You can change the stars' mass and the planetary distances and fool around with Goldilocks' breakfast, but it's the timeline control that's scary: drag it right to fly through the billions of years, watching the habitable zone head out of town as the star goes nova then contract to nothing. Read the rest

Better video of the legendary "controlled" explosion of a beached whale

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We've posted about this in the past, but it was brought to my attention that the legendary exploding whale news report was rebroadcast not long ago, meaning that the best quality possible (given the age of the 8mm film) is now available for your whale-exploding pleasure.

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SpaceX rocket explodes on launchpad; Facebook satellite destroyed

NASA

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and its payload—a communications satellite backed by Facebook—were destroyed this morning during launch tests at Cape Canaveral, Fla. No-one was hurt in the explosion. Read the rest

"Earthquake" off Daytona Beach, Florida was really military test

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On a Saturday, a 3.7 magnitude "earthquake" was detected about 168 miles off Florida's Daytona Beach Shores. It now appears that the quake was actually a "shock trial," an explosive test conducted by the US Navy to test the fortitude of the USS Jackson, a new combat ship. From the Daytona Beach News-Journal:

Asked about the reported earthquake on Monday, Dale Eng, a public information officer for the Navy’s Sea Systems Command in Washington, said the Navy is working on a statement it expects to release this week.

Seismographs as far away as Minnesota, Texas and Oklahoma, as well as along the coast of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, registered the event on Saturday, said Bruce Presgrave, a geophysicist and shift supervisor at the Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center in California.

(After being shown the above photo of a shock trial conducted last month) Presgrave said, "That's a smoking gun, isn't it?"

Presgrave planned to contact the Navy to learn more about the charges used in the shock trials as part of the agency's ongoing investigation.

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All this bulletproof glass couldn't stop an RPG

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Crash Zone knew you had been wondering about this ever since you decided to become Lord Protector of the forthcoming New English Republic and know you'd need some breathing space. Is it possible to create a vehicle able to withstand an RPG attack without being buried in metal armor?

The answer is "No."

It's quite a firm no, too: even 45 layers (15.75 inches!) of the stuff can't protect what's on the other side. [via sploid.gizmodo.com] Read the rest

Watch: Add butane to a bottle of Coke, get a totally unsafe high-powered bottle rocket

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It's always the Russians, beating us in the never-ending arms race of Totally Unsafe Things That Are Fun to Watch. Read the rest

Nitrogen triiodide: "So volatile that a mosquito landing on it will make it explode"

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The Royal Institution posted this demonstration of an explosively unstable substance called nitrogen triiodide. I love the purple smoke it makes.

Nitrogen triiodide is so unstable that even something like a mosquito landing on it can set it off. Three iodine atoms cluster around one side of a nitrogen atom. Being crowded around one end causes something called bond strain as the atoms repel each other in a small space. The result is that the molecule is prone to falling apart, explosively.

[via] Read the rest

Explosion at NIST offices was a meth lab

An explosion last weekend at a National Institute of Standards and Technology lab in Gaithersburg, MD threw a blast-shield 25 feet. Investigators found "pseudoephedrine, drain cleaner, and a recipe for meth" in the wreckage. Read the rest

Wheelbarrow launched into air with powerful firecracker

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Against the backdrop of a beautiful Sound of Music type village, this fellow sent a wheelbarrow 15 meters into air. It did not achieve escape velocity, but it did make a perfect landing. According to our friends at Geekologie he used a Cobra 6 firecracker, "which packs 48.5-grams of explosive powder (versus 2-3 grams for an M-80)."

Image: Pyrotalk Read the rest

Something big exploded in Russia

And it was probably not a meteor. The videos and photos collected here and here suggest the explosion occurred on the ground. Read the rest

Explosive reaction of sodium in a pond

These young folks have a lot of fun throwing a big hunk of sodium into a pond. If you're impatient, forward to the boom at :53. Read the rest

Man "seriously injured" by exploding toilet

Michel Pierre of New York received serious shrapnel wounds to his face, arms and legs when the toilet exploded in his Brooklyn apartment. From AFP:

'The 58-year-old information technology specialist is now so fearful that he uses a rope to flush the toilet from behind the bathroom door at a safe distance.

"Those fears are part of his damages," said his lawyer Sanford Rubenstein. "Clearly toilets are supposed to flush, not explode." Three other tenants were also injured by what the Daily News website dubbed "the porcelain bomb."'

Air pressure in the pipes, or something. Read the rest

How to: Demolish a truss bridge

Like the people cheering at about :25 into this video, I'm a sucker for dramatic explosions. This one comes from Texas, where the transportation department blew up an old bridge in the city of Marble Falls on March 17th. Also, apparently, it's warm enough in Texas that multiple gentlemen could watch a bridge explode from the comfort of their jet skis. Read the rest

Behold the Wall Breaker

Thanks, Ipo! Read the rest

Wall ... explodes?

During the storm a couple of nights ago, we heard an almighty thunderclap and our dogs came dashing into the house. Once the rain ebbed and we went outside, we found this scene just around the corner: a wall apparently blown to pieces, with cinderblock chunks thrown as far as 40 or 50 feet. It seems too far for a plain old wall collapse. Could that have been caused by the lightning strike? If so, how? Steam pressure from the waterlogged bricks being suddenly superheated, like a tree strike? Read the rest

Michael Bay's Wizard of Oz

As requested in the thread concerning Michael Bay's Ninja Turtles. You're welcome. Read the rest

Volcano in a trash can

Plinian eruptions are named after Pliny the Younger and Pliny the Elder, who wrote about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 and died during said eruption, respectively. This is one of several different types of volcanic eruptions, but it's also one of the most iconic. In a Plinian eruption, a column of magma, gas, and ash shoots straight up, with the gas and ash reaching all the way up into the stratosphere. These are the big, explosive eruptions, with mushroom clouds and rains of rocks and boulders.

Matt Kuchta, geology professor at the University of Wisconsin Stout, recently recreated a classic Plinian eruption using a 32-gallon trash can filled with water, 100 rubber ducks, and some liquid nitrogen. In slow motion, you can see the column of water and ducks rise straight up, fan out at the top, and fall back down to Earth. Just imagine the damage if all the ducks were boulders, and you get the picture. Read the rest

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