Follow by Email

Inspirational Reads

Totally Blowing Shit Up Tuesdays, Part Deux.

March 24, 2009

I'm not sure what is going on in this video, aside from a bunch of jackasses with two much time on their hands, and some extra combustible gas laying around. I don't know if this is a methane balloon or a hydrogen balloon (it's listed on YouTube as a "Helium Balloon Explosion", which I can assure it's not). I can guarantee you this because I know that helium is not a flammable gas. I can be sure because helium is non-reactive--it's king of the inert or noble gases...I dubbed it king because it sits on top of the column and because the sun likes to make lots of it. If it's good enough for the sun...and all that shit. Now, if they overfilled the balloon with helium and it blew that way, I'd give it to them, but there's a countdown and what looks like some sort of ignition when the Ringleader of the Fellowship of Jackasses gets down to one. That tells me that they simply did not overfill the balloon and cause it to burst.

All of the mylar confetti as a result of the explosion is pretty cool, though. Also, that might be helium in there...if mylar is flammable/explosive...I'm not sure about that. Being an organic chemist...metals scare me.

Anyway, this group of morons has decided that detonating a balloon filled with something combustible would be a good time had by all...except, you know, for the permanent damage it did to their hearing. Watch and learn.

My ears are ringing so loud. Mine, too. So loudly, in fact, that when you said "I can't take any more", I heard it as "I want to be your whore." Well, alright then. But, first things first...let's talk about the relative flammability of gasses. Topless.


Poobomber said...


It could have been filled with teenageidiocium, we all know how volatile and loud that gas is when ignited.

Considering the proximity of everyone to an exploding balloon, that's the likely culprit in my books.

Scope said...

That balloon seemed fairly neutrally bouyant, not overly over-inflated, and the fireball to sound seems WAY disproportional. My "bullshit" alarm is ringing like that kid's ears.

Whatever the detonation source was (and you can see the kid set down the remote), I think, the source of the bang. But since it happened on what looks like a college campus, I'm sure the FBI & ATF will let us know.

Sass said...

All science aside, my son watched this and dubbed it, "very cool."

So that's gotta count for something.

coolred38 said...

why do dickheads have all the fun...sigh

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Poobomber: I liked how this was more sound than fury. And, you're right...I think teenageidiocium could be that elusive gas right down below radon on the periodic table.

@ Scope: That's why I'm thinking it's hydrogen as opposed to methane. Hydrogen gives a good bang/boom noise when it ignites, and burns relatively fast and hydrogen fires are colorless. Methane tends to make a big cloud of fire with a good sort of mushroomy ball of fire going along with it. My vote is for hydrogen.

Also, hydrogen burns so readily that all he would need is a spark to set it off, which one could rig up pretty easily with a remote source. And, yes, I thought about this way too much.

@ Sass: When I was going through videos looking for blowing shit up, my son was also fascinated. Then he climbed onto the bed behind me, laid on his back, and started making detonation/explosion noises. It's good to see that young males are still easily corrupted by stuff blowing up.

@ coolred38: Because they're too dumb to realize how dangerous what they're doing is. Me? I'm terrified when I have to collect hydrogen in the lab to run a reaction with it. There's no way in hell I'd be out with a balloon full of the stuff trying to blow it up.

Anna Russell said...

Never mind blowing it up, I want to take a magic flying nap on it.

words...words...words... said...

This reminds me of that awesome YouTube video of the morons who tried to get rid of a beehive in a jungle gym by dousing it in gas and taking a flamethrower to it. Good times. Sadly, I can't find it anymore.

Scope said...

Thanks for the info on hydrogen. Most of my experiments with lighting methane have produced a bluish flame, and a dude screaming as the fireball singes his ass hair.

You're welcome.

Cora said...

I never thought I'd say this, but Totally Blowing Shit Up Tuesdays ROCKS! But SHHHHHHHHH, don't you dare tell Tova I said that. I mean, how awkward would that be?!

Kimizzy said...

Chemistry nerds do it for me everytime. How very apt of you to conclude that Helium was not used. I thought the same thing (I went straight to the video...sorry). Hydrogen I think. Anyway, I'm impressed. :)

Girl Interrupted said...


Some Guy said...

I agree with Cora. This is a great series!

Lisa-tastrophies said...

Man this makes me nostalgic for the old comet bomb days of college. Only problem is that I can't remember how we made those suckers and I somehow think my teaching staff wouldn't find them nearly as funny now a days. Bummer.

Does anyone remember how to make them? I remember that their was comet can and duck tape involved, but not much else. Someone send me the directions if they can remember the how-to's.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Anna: It's a whole new world, isn't it?

@ Words^3: Hmmm. That might have been me. My standard solution for debeeing/dewasping/dehorneting usually involves flames and/or gasoline.

@ Scope: Theoretically, right?

Actually, my friend Joe and I discussed this at some length and decided it was definitely hydrogen.

@ Cora: That would totally blow the shit out of awkward Tuesdays if I told darling Tova, wouldn't it?

@ Kimizzy: It's amazing what twelve years of the chemical arts will teach a person. That helium isn't flammable is one of them.

@ Girl Interrupted: correct one bunch of high school kids on the title of their explosion video and you get labeled an egghead for life.

@ Some Guy: Thank you. I'd love to take credit for it, but Poobomber thought it up. I just made it happen.

@ Lisa's chest: I could probably guess what goes into the comet bombs...but I'm guessing that the gov'ment has been watching me watch all these explosion videos, and so telling everyone that something shiny and foil-like probably would complete your detonation device might get them to knock on my door tonight.

Where the hell is Chemgeek when you need him? Oh, right, gloating over that whole Tubby Smith thing.

Lisa-tastrophies said...

Yeah, where is Chemgeek when you need him? OH, now I remember: He is off playing with HF and beer AND gloating over the Tubby thing. :-)
~Lisa's chest

Nej said...

Ah...flashbacks to high school.

My hubby and his friends brought some sort of earthquake response team from Offutt Airforce base in Bellevue, NE "running"...after blowing up a sandbar in the middle of the Platte River.

They were driving out of the area when the first helicopters arrived. :-) Lucky little shits didn't get caught.

Hap said...

If it's neutrally buoyant, it shouldn't be H2 - that's even lighter than helium and more buoyant (re: Hindenberg). Something like propane or butane might make more sense - I think one of them is the propellant in hairspray.