Tagged With bombs

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The US military is still inundated with obsolete and unusable ordnance from as far back as the beginning of the Cold War. But rather than simply dispose of these old bombs by, say, blowing them up, one enterprising design studio is transforming them into helpful house wares.

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Allegories abound in this macabre tale of runaway industrialism in post-World War Europe. An enterprising defence contractor replaces his inefficient human workforce with mechanical monstrosities, a move that doesn't sit well with his former employees. Returning with the hammer and sickle of socialist justice, one ex-bomb-maker attempts to enact his revenge, only to find that this military-industrial complex runs far deeper than anyone imagined.

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Oh my. This is beyond scary. A 1.6km-long train carrying crude oil derailed near a small town in the US state of North Dakota and sent explosions, flames and dark black smoke into the sky. Luckily (and almost unbelievably), no one was hurt in the accident that looked a lot more like a nuke exploding than a train derailment.

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When mushroom clouds exploded in the sky during Cold War-era nuclear bombs testing, they also created an unexpected boon for science. The nuclear explosions caused a massive uptick in Carbon-14 that eventually settled in all living tissue — everything from tree rings to elephant tusks to human brain cells.

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Today I found out about Project Pigeon andProject X-Ray, WWII plans to use pigeons to guide missiles and (literal) bat bombers. The man behind Project Pigeon was famed American behaviorist and Harvard professor B.F. Skinner, who teamed with the US Army to develop such a system.

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Why do nuclear bombs make mushroom clouds? The phenomenon all comes down to a little something called the Rayleigh-Taylor instability, and by extension, convection. I'll begin with the somewhat longer, but less geeky explanation before descending once again into extreme nerdery.

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Because my imagination is trapped within the confines of my human pea brain, I always giggle to myself when I see dogs sniff anything and everything they run into. But dogs have 50 times more olfactory cells than we do! Of course, they would put it to good use. And of course our human pea brains would put a dog's nose to good use in finding bombs. How do we train man's best friends to find explosives?

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By 1945, Allied forces were knocking on Japan's front door. As the Empire's military grew increasingly desperate, it began to focus on eliminating the Allies' willingness to fight — by intentionally crashing manned aircraft in kamikaze attacks. And for pilots aboard one breed of these notorious flying coffin, the MXY-7 Navy Suicide Attacker Ohka, death wasn't the last resort, it was the only one.

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"Be alert but not alarmed." That was the tagline of Australia's first prominent terrorism awareness campaign back in the early-2000s. Hotlines were set up, ads were all over the telly, and people were generally advised to watch out for home-grown threats. It was a great idea, and now the government is out to revive the campaign against home-grown threats, but in doing so it seems to have given us a shopping list of ingredients for home-made bombs.

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When a bomb explodes, you can't outmanoeuvre it; you probably can't even take cover quickly enough to protect yourself. Instead, you have to hope that there's something — anything — already in the way that can shield you from the blast. Here are five of the best future bomb-proof materials that could end up saving lives in our increasingly uncertain future.

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Everybody likes to watch explosions. Come on, admit it: you like looking at enormous blasts on YouTube because they simultaneously thrill you and make you feel safer and more cautious in your tiny little life. OK, maybe I am projecting a little. But who cares. Whether they're the result of war, science, freak accidents or rocket failures, destruction is in our blood. The fireball is our final heartbeat, the blastwave is our last breath.