Boys and their (explosive) toys

Thanks to reader B. D. for sending me the link to this video.  A young man decides to throw a pound of sodium into a river.  The results are . . . well, see for yourself.  Watch in full-screen mode for best results.

Of course, by chucking that much sodium into the water, he also poisoned that stretch for fish and other wildlife, at least until the concentrated solution got diluted . . . but I guess he wasn’t thinking about that.



  1. Related to the subject, and before the EPA:
    This film clip shows US Army disposing of drums of metallic sodium into Lake Lenore, an alkaline lake in the Grand Coulee area of eastern Washington State, in 1947. The barrels were rolled off a cliff onto the frozen surface of the lake where they were machine-gunned to expose the sodium. The reaction of sodium with water produced an estimated 162,000 cubic feet of hydrogen gas which then caught fire, producing a spectacular series of explosions. Several dozen passing motorist stopped to watch as a gentle mist of corrosive sodium hydroxide came down. The Army paid for repainting the cars. The War Assets Administration and the Washington State Department of Game had evaluated the impact of this disposal on the lake beforehand and concluded little effect on the lake and wildlife, but were concerned about the safety of the workers that would be involved.

  2. I wouldn't be surprised to find some prosecutor decide to track them down.

    It's not like he's from the EPA and can destroy the environment with no regard to consequences. He's a Mundane and Must Be Taught A Lesson.

  3. The disk shape was an interesting variation- it flew nicely but split the boom up into a couple of discrete events.

    I stole a 5gal bucket of sodium from the stockroom at my department when I was a student, and we drank beer and humped the bucket down to the Smoot bridge at MIT down the road, dumped the bucket into the Charles river, and ran like hell to a bar. The column of water and smoke and the noise set off car alarms in front of the building, and got the cops searching for us. I can't remember where the hell we stashed the bucket.

  4. He's an idiot.

    Mopsy came home from high school one day and said they'd had a substitute for chemistry class. The silly SOB casually dropped a small quantity of sodium into a gallon of water to demonstrate something or other, and the front three rows got splattered.

    No, he wasn't arrested. No, he wasn't fired. I wanted to beat the SOB up, but Main Lady wouldn't let me.

    Eventually the genius in the video will likely step out in front of traffic, fall victim to a prank involving electricity, or get too near the lion's cage. Until then he's a menace.

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