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The coworker nobody likes at the naval mine factory

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The Rat Bomb

One of the many zany ideas of the British Special Operations Executive during World War II, the rat bomb was an explosive device featuring the corpse of a rat which was stuff with a small charge of high explosives.  While the explosive charge was small, it was enough to cause a devastating explosion if tossed into a steam boiler.  The idea was that the rat bombs would be smuggled into Germany, then placed in boiler rooms of factories, locomotives, or power stations. The stoker tending the boiler would throw the offending critter into the fire, the explosive would ignite, fracturing the boiler and causing a massive blast.

Several dead rats were acquired and converted into bombs. Some were also produced with timed delayed fuses. However, the first shipment of rats was intercepted by the Germans, thus none saw their intended use before the program was cancelled. In the meantime the Germans sent their captured rats to military schools for further study and set up security protocols to ensure that the British rats would never be exploded on German soil.  While the rat bombs never blew up a boiler, SOE concluded the program was effective because it wasted precious German manpower, redirected soldiers and security guards away from the war effort in order to search for dead rats.

How to make Gunpowder.

Gunpowder, or Black Powder, is a fairly simple mix of chemistry that can become an art once you got the science of it down. It’s not hard to figure out, but getting it right? That can be a bit tricky. Especially since you’ve got to get it right without blowing your ass off.

Now, the first step is probably the hardest. You gotta get your shit together, dig it? You need Saltpeter, Sulfur, and Charcoal. Seem easy enough? You’d think so, but bear with me here. This shit can get tricky, especially since some local authorities might start eyefucking you for trying to get it straight at the source. Be careful here, government agencies don’t like it when citizens make gunpowder.

Ingredient one: Saltpeter.

Now, Saltpeter’s a funny thing. See, the proper name for this little lady is “Potassium Nitrate.” You can make it from urine, you can make it from bat guano, or horse manure, hell you can even make it from a cold pack, but in all honesty? The quickest way is to just get a bottle of “Stump Remover” from the garden section. It’ll probably even be labeled just that, or maybe even called Saltpeter. Funny, innit?

Ingredient two: Charcoal.

Yep, you can get it straight outta the bags you buy from your local grilling place. I wouldn’t buy anything fancy or ‘flavored’ but whatever. Now, you can smoke your own wood and make charcoal but that’s time consuming and who has six odd hours? Now, you’re gonna want to grind the hell out of thise charcoal until it’s in a *damn* fine powder. No clumps, no chunks.

Ingredient three: Elemental Sulfur.

Tch, this shit can be tricky. You’ll have to order it either online or find it in your local garden section unless you plan on going to Texas or Louisiana and mining it yourself. [A lot of this stuff could be ordered under the guise of building a garden, heh!]

Mixing it up.

I said it’s an art and a science, right? It’s like baking a cake, except the cake can blow up and kill you. You’re gonna want to grind each ingredient up SEPARATELY. Holy shit, do NOT grind these ingredients up together unless you wanna blow yourself to kingdom fucking come. Don’t be a fucking idiot. Now, you can use a variation of different mediums here. You can use a classic mortar and pestle, you can use a ball mill, you could even use a fucking coffee grinder .. But whatever you use? Clean it between ingredients. Clean every nook and cranny. If you think you’ve cleaned it good? Clean it again. Then you find your mother, grandmother, or significant other and have them yell at you for not cleaning the shit good enough, and clean a third time because it has to be clean enough that you don’t get shrapnel lodged in your genitals because you didn’t listen to Badger.

Measure out components, dig it? It should be 5 Parts Saltpeter,  1 Part Charcoal, and 2/3rds of a Part Sulfur. [That’s gonna be 75% Saltpeter, 15% Charcoal, and 10% Sulfur.] Use a scale to calculate it, a digital one if you can, to figure out exactly how much of which you’ve got, depedning on much powder you plan on making.

Now, be careful as fuck on this next part. You might wanna moisten the powder for safety, for obvious reasons. If you’re using a mortar and pestle? Good on you, grind that shit together for a good 8 to ten minutes, maybe fifteen or twenty minutes. If you’re using a ball mill though? Mill the Charcoal and Sulfur together first for a good four or so hours, then add in the saltpeter and mill it for another twenty four hours just to be safe… 

Now, some say throwing in a bit of water to the mix can help it, add about eight or so percent per batch and mix it up again, and good, probably pour it through a sieve to catch any “Chunks” so you can break them down proper. Some folks think it helps it to burn better because it’s better mixed that way? Maybe, maybe not, maybe go fuck yourself.

So, there you got it. You got blackpowder, and now you’re probably on a watchlist.

Good going, terrorist!

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Plants vs explosives

Did you know that plants can extract TNT and RDX from soil and water? 

These two explosives, which are some of the most widely used in munitions, are classified as highly toxic.

Pollution from explosives can pose a risk to both the environment and public health, so it’s vitally important that cost-effective ways of dealing with it are found.

Research carried out by Professor Neil Bruce at the University of York uses genetic modification to combine the characteristics of certain bacteria, which are able to detoxify different types of explosives, with the larger mass and higher processing ability of plants.

Watch out for more amazing plant science in the weeks to come.

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