Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Holy Mary Mother of God.

No words.
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Prayers for Beirut.
RayfordSteele, Aug 04 2020

Texas City Disaster https://en.wikipedi...Texas_City_disaster
comparable scale ... [kdf, Aug 04 2020]

Oppau explosion https://en.wikipedi...iki/Oppau_explosion
1921 predecessor; warnings went unheeded. [8th of 7, Aug 05 2020]

Buncefield https://en.wikipedi...iki/Buncefield_fire
Petrochemicals [8th of 7, Aug 05 2020]

Flixborough https://en.wikipedi...lixborough_disaster
... and petrochemicals again. [8th of 7, Aug 05 2020]

Bellingcat: What Just Blew Up in Beirut https://www.belling...-blew-up-in-beirut/
Nice writeup here, apparently it was a warehouse full of ammonium nitrate. [zen_tom, Aug 05 2020]

Good writeup in Ars Tecnica https://arstechnica...xplosion-in-beirut/
But I’m just saying that because it echos some of what I said earlier, here and elswhere... [kdf, Aug 06 2020]

[link]






       Industrial or military accident? Non-nuclear, but possibly as large as 3 kilotons (based on reports of broken windows as far away as 10km).   

       Comparable to the Texas City disaster of 1947 (link)
kdf, Aug 04 2020
  

       // Industrial or military accident? //   

       From the location, civil/industrial. The military tend to handle ordnance as much as possible through their own facilities.   

       See also Tianjin, 2015. There are plenty of everyday materials that can go bang if provoked, fertilizer being a favorite.   

       Eyewitness reports suggest large scale fire & smoke preceeded the blast - that tends to indicate malice is unlikely.   

       // broken windows as far away as 10km //   

       If it's low-brisance like ammonium nitrate, then the bulk overpressure - rather than the shock wave - can produce paradoxical effects at extended ranges, so no clear conclusion is possible from the minimal data available.
8th of 7, Aug 04 2020
  

       .
doctorremulac3, Aug 04 2020
  

       .
blissmiss, Aug 04 2020
  

       .
AusCan531, Aug 05 2020
  

       .   

       sp: Beirut, for accurate GoogleFu research
Sgt Teacup, Aug 05 2020
  

       .   

       Holy crap...   

       It does take a special kind of ignorance to to even temporarily warehouse a large shipment of ammonium nitrate in a population center right next to a fireworks factory, especially in a town that's historically a powder keg.
RayfordSteele, Aug 05 2020
  

       “A special kind of ignorance?” It seem sadly common, when you notice how often it happens. Especially in port cities - not just mishandling of ammonium nitrate but all sorts of disasters in waiting. A big LNG tanker explosion could be worse than a fertilizer warehouse.
kdf, Aug 05 2020
  

       // A big LNG tanker explosion could be worse than a fertilizer warehouse //   

       Is that a challenge, then ?   

       Yes, tonne for tonne a fuel-air explosion (BLEVE) is always going to deliver more yield than a solid, as it uses oxygen from the atmosphere - but it's much harder to engineer. The fuel needs to be thoroughly dispersed and mixed before it's ignited (see hyperbaric weapons). The bigger the mass, the harder that is to achieve.   

       // It seem sadly common //   

       According to Wikipedia (so it must be true) it was a confiscated cargo, tied up in legal wrangles; those in charge of the warehousing were highly aware of the "clear and present danger", but their requests to the authorities for a decision were ignored.   

       Since Lebanon is pretty much a failed state, that's hardly surprising. It's to be hoped that those who's warnings went unheeded survived the disaster.
8th of 7, Aug 05 2020
  

       Apart from recent events in Lebanon - categorize similar scale man-made disasters by locale. The first several I thought of were all in port cities. As for a LNG disaster, your assistance is not required. All it would take is unfortunate combination of negligence and mishaps. Unlikely? A million to one chance...
kdf, Aug 05 2020
  

       <links>
8th of 7, Aug 05 2020
  

       According to the all seeing, all knowing Trump, it was a bomb. Everything to the contrary is fake news. The Stable Genius has spoken.
xenzag, Aug 05 2020
  

       ...because there's no political traction to be gained from an accident. If pressed, he might say something like it was a cache of confiscated "explosives" (technically true, even though ammonium nitrate has multiple uses) - but will still insist it was intentionally set off.
kdf, Aug 05 2020
  

       Horrifying event.   

       But it's hard to avoid catastrophe fatigue these days, watching a thousand Americans die every day from covid-19.
tatterdemalion, Aug 05 2020
  

       // political traction //   

       What, like, studded tyres, or something ?   

       // gained from an accident //   

       "Cui Bono" ?   

       Well, U2 would be the obvious answer. But the mere logistics, and the lack of an obvious (or even covert) target militate against deliberate action.   

       Such a detonation has tremendous potential for "friendly fire" casualties - and there have been a lot of casualties. It's also uncertain, as the behaviour of a stockpile of aged material - kept in unknown conditions - is unpredictable. A small primary/booster might initiate the whole mass (which is what happened) - yet a much bigger charge could equally well just scatter the material around, without any tertiary detonation. And to get optimum effects, pure ammonium nitrate is a poor choice, given that ANFO is so much more brisant and very easy to create with minimal facilities.   

       The Messines and Somme mines retain 60%+ viability after a century, but they were carefully prepared and placed.   

       It doesn't fulfill any of the requirements for a rational attack, although of course many such attacks are irrational, and uncaring of consequences.   

       Lebanon is notoriously factionalised, but it's hard to see how this would benefit one faction over another - and no-one's claiming responsibility. Of course that could be that it went rather more spectacularly than anticipated, and the perpetrators are now keeping their heads down for fear of a massive public backlash ...
8th of 7, Aug 05 2020
  

       .
Voice, Aug 05 2020
  

       Wow 8th, that's an awful lot of words just to acknowledge Trump is full of shit. *AND* you're preaching to the choir ... for a change.
kdf, Aug 05 2020
  

       I'm not going to vote for either party, but the Democrats (the people who are Democrats, not the party) are shooting themselves in the dick with this constant, uninformed anti-Trump mantra. It's not that he's a decent human being, it's that your reasons for hating him are massively exaggerated and pulled straight from MSM propaganda. You might increase the loyalty of the existing Democrat voter base with that drivel but you're losing independents who don't want to be part of the "I believe everything the television tells me" party.
Voice, Aug 05 2020
  

       Voice, I'm not a Democrat either and try to get my news from a variety of sources - but I still think Trump is a constant liar, not to be trusted on anything. "Full of shit" is just convenient shorthand. And I've thought that for years, long before he entered politics.
kdf, Aug 05 2020
  

       It's like I've said elsewhere. I'm sure Jeffrey Dahmer was great with a grill, but it's the whole 'he happens to also be a cannibal' thing that I just can't get past. Trump is demonstrably narcissitic-sociopathic by a simple analysis of his own behavior regardless of the media, so, um, yeah. Actions speak louder than words, and his are entirely self- centered.   

       The Republicans for the past decade have made me question their humanity as well, and so I left, and vowed revenge.
RayfordSteele, Aug 05 2020
  

       What tatter said. Then we were scared to the basement with tornado warnings during the hurricane while worrying about staying 6 feet apart and not infecting one another. That was right after the explosion footage surfaced.   

       One can only absorb so much before it starts to become numb for the time being.
blissmiss, Aug 05 2020
  
      
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