h a l f b a k e r y
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The problem with landmines is that they don't lay down
their arms and go home after hostilities have ceased.
UBCo's "Special Operations" division have come up with a
range of truly nasty explosive compounds that have been
laced with sugar and/or milk powder, to attract ants and
that are blocked with a plug of material
designed to degrade over time will open after a set period
of time, allowing ants and subterranean scavengers the
opportunity to carry away the nitrogen-rich contents of
landmine casings, to harmlessly disperse the explosives,
after the shooting and shouting has stopped.
Addition of attractant hormones may actually speed the
process, if desired.
||Apiarists introduce new queens to a hive by putting them in a small mesh cage blocked with a bit of hard candy. By the time the bees eat through the candy the hive has acclimated to her scent and don't kill her as an outsider. This type of plug would dissolve with moisture over time and you could either have your explosive degrade slowly with moisture or degrade "quickly" ie explodes when wet.
||However, this system would not provide grist for the many puns available along the lines of "ant-i mine device" "ant-i personnel weapons" and so on.
||True, but an exploding Apple-flavoured 'phone
handset could become an iMine.
||Self-inerting landmines are Baked and [widely-known-to-exist].
||Getting ants to eat the charge is doubtful; most of the cheap toe-poppers (the ones most dangerous to civilians) use compositions based on Potassium Chlorate or similar which is fairly toxic to most life, but does have the advantage (for inerting) of being very water soluble.
||Self-inerting land mines may be widely known to
etc., but do any of them rely on insects for
||//Potassium Chlorate or similar// Fairly toxic, but
water soluble, then. Allowing it to leak into the
soil may be good for inerting, but problematic in
other respects. If you could encourage ants to
sequester it, that'd be an improvement. How
would the stuff behave if chewed into granules
and accumulated in anthills? Would the anthills
explode, or would it be safe, in the absence of a
||The ants don't have to eat the stuff in situ, after
all, you just need for the foragers to mistake it for
food, and transport it to the colony.
||... and disperse it, harmlessly, as I suggested. You
won't change the nature of the material but you'll
reduce its concentration to such an extent it is no
longer so much a destructive explosive as a noisy
pyrotechnic, in the case of detonation of the small
amount to be found in any particular spot.
||//to carry away the nitrogen-rich contents of landmine casings,//
With the added bonus that the arthropods will enjoy better cardiovascular health, at the possible expense of a few headaches, but since they've only got little heads, this won't be too bad.
||Almost refrains from making a lame joke about