All this bulletproof glass couldn't stop an RPG


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] Read the rest

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


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"


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


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

Cai Guo-Qiang Explosion Event at MOCA

LA's Museum of Contemporary Art invited the city to the opening party for Cai Guo-Qiang's "Sky Ladder" exhibition, the highlight of which was a massive explosion of rockets and other fireworks, titled “Mystery Circle.”  Thousands of people filled the museum grounds for the big event. Several introductory speakers (including the artist) described what was about to happen, but I don’t think anyone was anticipating the effect of 40,000 rockets launched directly at us. The light, heat, and concussive force were terrifying and beautiful.

MOCA shot video of the event from many angles, and made this nifty map to show the event videos from a myriad of perspectives. Here's a more composed video that combines a bunch of the views:

Cai Guo-Qiang has gotten so much attention lately that he is starting to get endorsements, including a limited-edition Lomography signature camera.  I'm a crappy photographer, but that didn't deter the nice people at Lomography from lending me a Cai Guo-Qiang camera to document the explosion event and the exhibition. The camera is really neat and I enjoyed messing around with analog settings - it's harder and much more rewarding than slapping an Instagram filter on a digital image. Here’s the best shot I got of the installation, which includes a crop circle hanging from the ceiling:

The Cai Guo-Qiang "Sky Ladder" exhibition is open at MOCA (through July 30) and  includes three gunpowder paintings, a crop circle installation, and videos of the various detonations. You can also see the scorch marks from the explosion event on the side of the building. Read the rest

Art That Goes Bang: Cai Guo-Qiang's Gunpowder Paintings

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Cai Guo-Qiang is making some of the most interesting and beautiful art of our time. He’s been a prominent artist around the world for twenty years or so. I’m embarrassed to admit that I knew nothing about him until just last year when a friend posted photos of his installation at Deustche Guggenheim in Berlin from 2006 on Facebook. The piece that struck me is called Head On and it fills a large room with a pack of 99 life-size wolf replicas leaping into a plate glass panel. It’s incredibly moving and gorgeous.  

Cai Guo-Qiang: Head On (2006). Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany. Photo by Hiro Ihara and Mathias Schormann

So, I jumped at the chance when MOCA announced that Cai Guo-Qiang would be doing a series of paintings with imagery produced by exploding gunpowder here in LA and that the museum needed volunteers to assist on the project. I’m not sure why they accepted my application - I know they had far more interest than available slots, and most of my fellow volunteers were artists or art students. But I got lucky. Here’s what happened.   Read the rest

Never change the oil in Michael Bay's car

[via Qt3] Read the rest

How To: Launch a cork rocket using an LED

OK, this should make up for the intestinal worm.

In this video, you'll learn how to use an ultraviolet LED to kickstart a chemical reaction capable of sending a cork flying halfway across a lecture hall. It's a hazardous science demonstration! Hooray!

Quick note: The sound quality gets a little sketchy at times. If you click on the CC option in the lower-right corner of the player window you'll be able to read the English subtitles.

Video Link Read the rest

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