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Asbestos dirty bomb

Simple yet effective
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Most people are paranoid about asbestos fibres.

In reality, they're not that dangerous, but it's another bogeyman that frightens the tree-hugging organic yoghurt brigade out of their minuscule minds (if any).

The other thing about asbestos is there's an awful lot of it about, so it's easy to obtain unobtrusively and in large quantities.

So, working on the basis of "embuggerance", contaminating a major population centre with asbestos would be quick, cheap, and hugely disruptive.

Having obtained a quantity of - for example - asbestos cement roofing panels, don a simple full-face respirator and feed them into a regular garden shredder, collecting the output in sturdy plastic bags. Then, feed the resultant granules through something like an agricultural feed mill.

Now, all you need is a leaf blower, a moderately sized van or truck, calm dry weather, and darkness. Then just drive round your target area while your assistant offers the bags of powder to the greedy maw of the blower, sending a fountain of contamination high into the air.

Retire to a safe distance, and inform the local authorities - or better, the gutter press - of the situation. Et viola ! Panic, evacuations, finger pointing, massive, prolonged and hideously expensive decontamination - because no-one's going to go back until they're sure it's safe, and can you trust the government ? No, of course you can't ...

As an improvised means of area denial, it has a lot going for it.

8th of 7, May 07 2018

Monomyristic sucrose ester https://pubchem.ncb.../161558#section=Top
chemspider knows all [Loris, May 08 2018]

Systematics / 245T https://youtu.be/pJ7e_9ZrHvU
[Ian Tindale, May 08 2018]

Monsanto poisons an entire town http://naturalsocie...poisoned-herbicide/
[xenzag, May 08 2018]

John Harvard https://en.wikipedi...Harvard_(clergyman)
He'd probably have been quite pleased. [8th of 7, May 11 2018]

[link]






       I shall start a rumour, I mean scientific research paper, that Glyphosate is the quickest cheapest most effective way to nullify asbestos. Only the original name-brand glyphosate will do the job.
Ian Tindale, May 07 2018
  

       "And tonight, we report on new government-funded research showing that low levels of asbestos can significantly slow the progress of Alzheimers, as well as alleviating the symptoms of erectile dysfunction. But first, Quentin Springvalve on the property price boom in central London."   

       It becomes a question of who controls the media, which is quite often the government. Or indeed who controls the rain, which would rapidly alleviate the problem.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 07 2018
  

       All you need to do to cause a rapid panic induced evacuation of a built up area is to find a suitably large empty field in the vicinity, and plant a big sign in it with a nice rendering of a building covered with shiny tubing and the words 'Site of New Monsanto Regional Production Factory'
xenzag, May 07 2018
  

       You're right, [xen] dear. There would be an unchecked rush for the new jobs.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 07 2018
  

       Will there be opening-day free samples, do you think ? If so, where does the queue start ?
8th of 7, May 07 2018
  

       //an unchecked rush for the new job// ha - there are only so many people who want to end up growing extra unwanted fingers out the back of their heads.
xenzag, May 07 2018
  

       Unwanted ? Who wouldn't want extra fingers ? You could scratch your scalp without moving your arms, and they'd be great for holding pens, keeping your hat on in windy conditions, and gesturing covertly to people sitting behind you.   

       If you could get them on both heads, that would be even better ...
8th of 7, May 07 2018
  

       [xen], mon amie, it must take a very special effort to achieve such a deep, broad and fundamental ignorance of an entire discipline. Do you not find the froth drips onto your keyboard?   

       Rest assured, if there were money in postcranial digits, Monsanto would have it sorted by now. Alas, there is not, and their interests lie elsewhere.   

       Personally, if my own life revolved around hating Monsanto, I would at least feel it not completely unwise to learn a little about them (or, indeed, anything), if only to be able to insult them without looking like a complete dorquette.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 07 2018
  

       In 2004 I used a lot of a Monsanto product (a systemic herbicide called Glyphosate, as it happens – Roundup) to kill everything in my back garden and then I dug it all up. For years it remained just earth. It still is, except where a few weeds grow, but they’re easy to spot now and turf out by hand. There’s a bunch of bulbs at the back which come up in the sproing, first snowdrops, then crocuses, then daffodils, then tulips. Except this year the snowdrops I planted last autumn came up (some of them anyway) and apart from a few daffs, the rest seem to have taken the year off this year – no crocuses or anything else, just their leaves.
Ian Tindale, May 07 2018
  

       Agent Orange would have done a much better job of total extermination - Monsanto's finest product of course.
xenzag, May 07 2018
  

       Unfortunately, 2,4,5-T is only a selective herbicide.   

       Ideally, herbicides should be fast-acting, nonselective, and highly persistent. Cadmium chlorate is excellent as not only does the chlorate kill the vegetation, but the highly toxic heavy metal prevents regrowth.   

       Sadly the Eco-fascists seem to have a bit of an attitude when it comes to such useful materials, but we have established that an annual dousing with used engine oil can be highly beneficial for any remaining outdoor areas not already covered by impervious material. Sump oil is also excellent as a timber preservative, and keeps it free from mould and rot right up to the moment when it's finally time to set fire to it.
8th of 7, May 07 2018
  

       //Ideally, herbicides should be fast-acting, nonselective, and highly persistent. // Surely the persistence depends on the context? There may be many situations where you want to clear vegetation but leave the land useable. This is why glyphosate is so superb - kills all known plants, but breaks down on contact with soil into CO2 and water. It's basically the chemical equivalent of a flamethrower.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 07 2018
  

       “The use of lawn chemicals accounts for the majority of wildlife poisonings reported to the Environmental Protection Agency.”
RayfordSteele, May 07 2018
  

       Asbestos sounds a bit dangerous.   

       Why not use [(2S,3R,4S,5S,6R)-2- [(2S,3S,4S,5R)-3,4-dihydroxy- 2,5- bis(hydroxymethyl) oxolan-2-yl]- 3,4,5-trihydroxy- 6- (hydroxymethyl) oxan-2-yl] tetradecanoate?   

       The name ought to be sufficiently complex and technical to scare off the ill-informed, but the long-term environmental effects will be greatly reduced.   

       It's also quite cheap in quantity.
Wrongfellow, May 08 2018
  

       Pouring whisky on the lawn has the desirable effect that it comes up half cut.
DenholmRicshaw, May 08 2018
  

       OK. I'm not a chemist, but that's a very detailed structural description of a molecule with very few actual elements. I can spot hydrogen and oxygen (as in water), and I think the methyl groups imply carbon. So, is it a carbohydrate? - just so I know whether to eat it before bedtime, you understand.
pertinax, May 08 2018
  

       Yup. It's sucrose. Perfectly safe before bedtime, though personally I consume more of it in the mornings.
Wrongfellow, May 08 2018
  

       // [(2S,3R,4S,5S,6R)-2- [(2S,3S,4S,5R)-3,4-dihydroxy- 2,5- bis(hydroxymethyl) oxolan-2-yl]- 3,4,5-trihydroxy- 6- (hydroxymethyl) oxan-2-yl] tetradecanoate //   

       Sucrose is : (2R,3R,4S,5S,6R)-2- [(2S,3S,4S,5R)-3,4-dihydroxy- 2,5-bis(hydroxymethyl) oxolan-2-yl] oxy-6-(hydroxymethyl) oxane-3,4,5-triol   

       so no, it's not quite sucrose. You've got an inverted group or two, and something like myristic acid on the end.   

       edit:
Found it: "Sucrose, monomyristate", or Monomyristic sucrose ester (thank you chemSpider)
Loris, May 08 2018
  

       Whoops. Serves me right for trusting the internet, I suppose. Thanks [Loris]!
Wrongfellow, May 08 2018
  

       // many situations where you want to clear vegetation but leave the land useable //   

       Useable for what, exactly ?   

       Taxiing areas for aircraft. Parking areas for ground vehicles. Storage space for weaponry. Chemical plants. Fuel storage. Landing areas for Cubes.   

       What else is there of any significance ?
8th of 7, May 08 2018
  

       Lakes of organic yogurt for a start, with armies of happy cats grooming themselves from the comfort of heated inflatables drifting along in the warm air generated by the roaring flames issuing from the burning Monsanto factories.
xenzag, May 08 2018
  

       //cats// //inflatables// Am I the only one that sees a potential problem there?   

       //What else is there of any significance ?// Oh, pshaw, [8th]. We've been round the cube once while you were out. Wicker and rattan everywhere. And don't pretend you synthesised it - we found the World of Wicker catalogue under your bed along with... well, we found the World of Wicker catalogue anyway.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 08 2018
  

       See last link - fines are great, but other activites are much more effective.
xenzag, May 08 2018
  

       The unbiased and neutral perspective of that article reassures me that it's completely true, mon amie. And my aunt is a pigeon.   

       Seriously, [xen], if you are so dead set against Monsanto, does it not behove you to learn a little about the enemy? Frothing is jolly good fun, but it doesn't accomplish anything. Reasoned arguments seldom accomplish anything either, but they're more interesting.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 08 2018
  

       // we found the World of Wicker catalogue anyway. //   

       Yes, OK, you got us there.   

       But did you notice it fell open at the "Wicker Man" page ? The one with all the greasy thumbprints and the ... errr ... other biological stains ?
8th of 7, May 08 2018
  

       //under your bed along with...//   

       Given the context, perhaps you found some gloating photographs of people dying of mesothelioma?
pertinax, May 08 2018
  

       [MB], we told you, no guests ...   

       And technically it isn't gloating, just academic interest.
8th of 7, May 08 2018
  

       I think with our dumbed-down society you could probably get good results using gluten.   

       I always wondered if the dirty bomb scare was a planted idea to get the terrorists to give up on getting a real nuclear bomb and waste their time with a device that would be defused simply by a news broadcast saying "Don't panic and stay indoors until we clean up a couple of areas." since the main deadly effect of a dirty bomb would be panic.   

       The comparison of these two "nuclear bombs" has got to be a plant. It's like calling a rifle bullet and a beanbag "offensive projectiles". It's technically correct but one is very deadly, the other, not so much.
doctorremulac3, May 08 2018
  

       No. This is something that Israel takes seriously enough to do a test for.
RayfordSteele, May 08 2018
  

       //Most people are paranoid about asbestos fibres. In reality, they're not that dangerous//   

       Can you put that on a scale from smoking 20 a day, to a week of inhaling volcanic ash which I also understand is also quite pointy.   

       //I think with our dumbed-down society you could probably get good results using gluten.//   

       This just in ... Russia has manufactured a chemical weapon to make communism go airborne.
bigsleep, May 08 2018
  

       //No. This is something that Israel takes seriously enough to do a test for.//   

       No yourself. I'm not saying it's harmless, I'm saying it's not as bad as some people (like you maybe) make it out to be and it's nowhere near the threat of a nuclear bomb going off in a populated area despite having the same amount of hysteria surrounding reporting on its possible use.   

       Manhattan will not be uninhabitable for a million years if somebody lights a paper bag full of uranium on fire, sets in on the Trump tower front doorstep and rings the doorbell.
doctorremulac3, May 08 2018
  

       What was on your mind, when you came up with this, [8th of 7]?
Inyuki, May 09 2018
  

       //technically it isn't gloating,//   

       It's interstellar hegemonizing swarms like you, [8th], that give academic interest a bad name.
pertinax, May 09 2018
  

       // What was on your mind, when you came up with this //   

       A large quantity of asbestos sheeting that will be expensive to remove and dispose of by conventional means. This idea neatly puts the cost on someone else.
8th of 7, May 09 2018
  

       //Most people are paranoid about asbestos fibres.//

Prove it! Most people don't give them a second thought, I suspect. Even in the pub, near closing time, I have yet to hear someone* confiding, to some bleary-eyed stranger standing at the bar, that asbestos is out to get them. "It's everywhere, you know. Watching. Waiting. Looking for its moment to strike when you least expect it."

Also, tell me more about tree-hugging organic yoghurt. It sounds tasty! Mmm! Mmm! Mmmmmm!

*Other than me, that is.
DrBob, May 09 2018
  

       // tell me more about tree-hugging organic yoghurt //   

       It's a totally pure vegan product made from ethically-harvested tree sap by blind Buddhist orphans, prepared and transported in ethnic hand-carved stone bowls, has a shelf life measured in minutes, costs most of your monthly salary for a teaspoon-sized portion, and tastes utterly disgusting.   

       But you get a warm rosy glow from the sense of moral superiority it delivers, although more often than not it's actually heartburn.
8th of 7, May 09 2018
  

       //But you get a warm rosy glow from the sense of moral superiority it delivers.//   

       Silly concept, billion dollar product branding idea.   

       "Mother Earth brand yogurt, superior yogurt... for superior people."   

       (Show a hillbilly eating the leading competing brand of yogurt holding a misspelled Trump support sign as the androgynous, smug, Birkenstock wearing hipster eating Mother Earth brand yogurt walks by with a smirk shaking their head.)   

       And it would be very important to make it taste, if not horrible, as bland and tasteless as possible. Think tofu without all the flavor. Or wallpaper paste.
doctorremulac3, May 09 2018
  

       No no no, you need to show the toothless Trump supporter _evolving_into_ a Stanford professor.   

       The economic damage caused by a dirty bomb or two would be huge. That's the reality of it. And that great fear of the unknown bugaboo would quickly become a terrorist's most popular weapon of choice because of it.   

       In New York, there's a perfectly wonderful bit of real estate that was formerly occupied by two largish towers, which are now largish decorative and impractical holes in the ground, because they want them that way.   

       Planes were grounded everywhere because we didn't know how many more might be an issue. The entire nation basically stopped for a few days and gawked at CNN.   

       Dirty bombs bring that same unknown, uncontrolled nightmare to people's minds, and no longer tie it to a plane, but to any random backpack in any random location.
RayfordSteele, May 10 2018
  

       Nukes bring a very KNOWN outcome, a smoking pile of rubble where a city once stood.   

       A terror device that might not actually kill anybody doesn't keep me up at night.   

       If you want something to fret over at three in the morning, look up what might be accomplished with wide spread dispersal of anthrax.   

       The terrorists already know this so I'm not giving anybody any new ideas, but the holy grail of terror devices is a crude nuclear bomb hidden in a shipping container. Picture a howitzer with a cap at the end of the barrel and a shell both made of weapons grade uranium. So about the size of a small bus. Impossible to guard against and you've got a real body count, collapse of infrastructure and economic ruin.   

       That being said, we'd survive and be motivated enough to destroy the country or group that did it so, not a good idea terrorists.
doctorremulac3, May 10 2018
  

       [8th], we're all lucky you're not a real terrorist yet. [+]
Voice, May 10 2018
  

       The "yet" is very relevant. You're not being "lucky" at all; it's just a matter of continuing the regular payments.   

       // a howitzer with a cap at the end of the barrel and a shell made of weapon's grade uranium so about the size of a small bus. //   

       You don't need a howitzer - remember, it's single-use. With a slightly longer tube, it can actually be recoilless, which makes the fabrication of the target holder easier; decent steel is perfectly good enough.   

       The whole assembly isn't that much bigger than Little Boy - longer and thinner, though. You certainly don't need anything the size of a freight container. The problem is getting all that HEU, since there aren't many (any) facilities making weapons-grade Uranium any more. There's no point, no-one's made bombs that way since the 1950's.
8th of 7, May 10 2018
  

       We've got lumps of it round the back.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 10 2018
  

       It may kill them, just slowly as the radiation sickness sets in.
RayfordSteele, May 10 2018
  

       //You don't need a howitzer - remember, it's single- use.//   

       The cannon doesn't shoot anything, it's just an easy off the shelf mechanism to slap the two pieces of fissile material together.   

       You mill the cap, secured tightly to the end of the barrel, to properly receive the milled uranium shell accelerated by a propellent filled cartridge. When fired, the shell slams into the cap and the whole thing blows up.   

       Supposedly making the bomb is the easy part, it's getting the fissel material together that requires a small city full of labs, centerfuges and such.
doctorremulac3, May 10 2018
  

       I think it's quite difficult to get a true nuclear explosion. If the parts aren't brought together properly and held there for the necessary microseconds, you get a fizzle instead.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 11 2018
  

       Both HEU and Pu will go supercritical from prompt neutrons alone. Gun-type Uranium gadgets don't capture the slug - the Little Boy target assembly consisted of HEU annula in a tungsten frame; Godiva devices are the same.   

       Implosion devices use "squeeze" to get fission out of a subcritical mass, there's no need to maintain the geometry once it's fissioning.
8th of 7, May 11 2018
  

       Shit. Now you tell me.   

       STURTON - PUT THE HAMMER AWAY.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 11 2018
  

       I think you're talking about super efficient American style cutting edge technology nukes. I'm talking about a crude nuclear weapon that could take out a few city blocks.   

       Point is, you want something to worry about, there you go.   

       Or the anthrax thing.
doctorremulac3, May 11 2018
  

       How about a few kg of ricin, dispersed on a windy day in central New York by means of a modest explosion? Ricin isn't hard to make and, if the lethal dose by inhalation is similar to that by ingestion, you'd kill everybody in quite a wide radius.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 11 2018
  

       Yes, but it's not persistent.   

       You want an agent that is not only effective in very low doses, but also resistant to environmental degradation, difficult to detect at low levels, and difficult to remove.   

       The object is area denial, not temporary interdiction.
8th of 7, May 11 2018
  

       disposable diapers or cat pee, then.
FlyingToaster, May 11 2018
  

       When people are dead, it's usually persistent.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 11 2018
  

       Only the wealthy and powerful; the poor vanish with nary a trace.
8th of 7, May 11 2018
  

       Well, if the poor would put a little more effort into their mausoleums... they've only themselves to blame, really. And surely even the poorest among us can afford to endow a library or college, even if it's only at a redbrick.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 11 2018
  

       Rich guys should leave a funny legacy that people would actually notice. "This wing of the Stanford Research Hospital built by a grant from I.C. Weiner." The Ben Dover memorial proctology building, that sort of thing. You might actually get some appreciation from people rather than folks seeing your name on a college sports arena and saying "So you got a building named after you eh? Well you're dead now you top hat wearing asshole."
doctorremulac3, May 11 2018
  

       Sometimes a modest bequest can be spectacularly effective. <link>
8th of 7, May 11 2018
  

       //not persistent.//   

       How many billions of dollars are we spending on security lately? What was our anti-terrorism budget last year?
RayfordSteele, May 11 2018
  
      
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