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“Surprise Me” Setting for Time Bomb

For when you need to blow something up, but it doesn’t really matter so much *when* it happens.
  [vote for,

This innovation relieves you of having to figure out a lot of pesky logistics.

A random number generator tells the bomb’s clock when to detonate. It doesn’t even have to be a “true” random number generator, because since you don’t care when the bomb goes off, then what difference does it make?

(disclaimer: not to be used for terrorist or criminal purposes)

snarfyguy, Feb 12 2018

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       For the true nihilist.
doctorremulac3, Feb 12 2018

       There are innumerable ways of achieveing the stated outcome without resorting to a random number generator. We know this to be so.   

       WKTE, redundant.
8th of 7, Feb 12 2018

       A lot depends on the time-space within which the timer is random.   

       For instance, if the timer activates at some random point within a 1hr window, then the bomb will definitely go off within 1hr, but is unlikely to go off within 1min.   

       If, however, the timer has no upper limit, then the bomb will almost certainly go off at some point after the end of the universe, and will definitely not go off within 1min.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 12 2018

       Since the invention of Black Powder, your species has - presciently - expended large amounts of time and effort to ensure that explosions occur at specific times or in specific situations, and never otherwise.   

       This is because it is a Bad Thing.   

       Be told.   

       (From a mathematical/statistical/ philosophical viewpoint, [MB] is correct. Being correct is not the same as being a good idea).
8th of 7, Feb 12 2018

       For true randomness, it could be triggered by the decay of a radioactive particle.   

       It would be like Schroedinger's cat, except the outcome would be observed over a much larger radius.
mitxela, Feb 12 2018

       [mit], we always give a fair warning.   

       So consider yourself warned; not only have you misspelled Prof. S's name, but you have - without lawful excuse - deprived him of his glorifying Umlaut.   

       Now, in other circumstances we might be persuaded, by the liberal dispensing of folding money, to (reluctantly) cut you a little slack.   

       But for a man who proposed, even as a thought experiment, the idea of stuffing cats into boxes along with bottles of poison, even the slightest slight must be instantly and comprehensively avenged.   

       We do hope we have made your situation (perilous as it now is) abundantly clear.   

       Don't make us come over there.
8th of 7, Feb 12 2018

       There are three dots in Schrödinger's name.
"Why put dots on an 'O' ?!" you exclaim.
No-one knows why the krauts
Will insist on umlauts
When 'o - e' is pronounced just the same.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 12 2018

       //If, however, the timer has no upper limit, then the bomb will almost certainly go off at some point after the end of the universe, and will definitely not go off within 1min.//   

       Let's not rule this out. When a bomb with such a setting does eventually go off, it will be very surprising.
Loris, Feb 13 2018

       // deprived him of his glorifying Umlaut //   

       I assure you that at the time of posting, the umlaut's presence, or lack thereof, was in a quantum superposition. It was only your act of observing the annotation that collapsed the wavefunction into one state or the other.
mitxela, Feb 13 2018

       Nice try. Close, but no cigar.   

       So, do you want interrment, or cremation ? Actually, the former is a bit redundant, because it just means brushing up the ash from the Wicker Man and dumping it in a hole in the ground ... you get the cremation bit regardless.
8th of 7, Feb 13 2018

       [+] If it killed you instantly, you wouldn't have time to be surprised.   

       It would be ideal for a nuclear weapon because they have built-in sources of randomness.   

       This might be like the unexpected hanging paradox but I don't know how.
nineteenthly, Feb 14 2018

       ^ [marked-for-tagline]
8th of 7, Feb 14 2018

       //When a bomb with such a setting does eventually go off, it will be very surprising.//   

       I think they recently fished one of those out of the Thames, and then ruined the surprise by defusing it, didn't they?
pertinax, Feb 14 2018

       Maybe they expected it to go off and were surprised when it didn't.   

       I think it can maintain the element of surprise by being surrounded by a harmlessly vaporising sphere to ensure that whoever is affected by the detonation has time to be surprised by it before they die, otherwise it might not surprise anyone. Also, I think this should be a "Surprise Us" setting because that way someone else might be surprised even if one of "us" is killed instantly.
nineteenthly, Feb 14 2018

       // ruined the surprise by defusing it, didn't they? //   

       Miserable bastards, they are. They could just have dragged it out and stuck a lump of PETN on the fuze pocket and let it off ... OK, so it would have broken a few windows in Docklands, and a fair few londoners would need clean underwear, so it's a win-win, really.   

       But no. All that joyous fun-ness right in their lap, and they have to go and spoil it. Wasteful.
8th of 7, Feb 14 2018

       // SS Richard Montgomery //   

       Hehehehehehe ... <manic giggling and arm-flapping>   

       Been keepin' an eye on that one. Gonna be a beaut when she blows.
8th of 7, Feb 14 2018

       Out of interest, what's to prevent someone with a sense of humour from making a DIY depth-charge and droning it over to the SS RM?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 14 2018

       Absolutely bugger all, [MB].   

       But an R/C fibreglass dinghy with an electric outboard would be better. It could easily carry 200 kg of ANFO and an initiator. Spraycan it matt black with a tarp sheeted down over the payload - very low profile, almost no heat, sound or radar signature. Choose the state of the tide correctly, and the motor's only needed for terminal guidance - drop it off a boat in the channel at night, midstream, just after slack water, then run east at full speed, let GPS do the rest.   

       Doesn't have to be accurate. If it can be programmed to self-scuttle within 300m and drop to the bottom before initiating, hydrostatic shock and sympathetic detonation will do the rest.   

       <even more manic giggling and arm-flapping>
8th of 7, Feb 14 2018

       She sounds Familiar ...
8th of 7, Feb 14 2018

       The thing about a dinghy is that, traditionally, they operate best in water. That makes it relatively difficult to launch one from, say, a carpark or a layby.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 14 2018

       You'd be surprised. Plenty of places on both sides of the estuary where a flat-bottomed boat can be launched off a trailer.
8th of 7, Feb 14 2018

       Yes, but a trailer moving down to the water's edge is easier to spot and trace than, say, a family car stopping in a lay-by a mile away.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 14 2018

       Indeed, hence the plan to // drop it off a boat in the channel at night, midstream //.   

       Leave the city after high water, at twilight. Run down the estuary with the falling tide, amongst a crowd of other vessels. Slacken speed, and as darkness falls, hoist the payload outboard and tow it. Once past the target, pull in the tow and arm the weapons package, then drop the cable and speed away for Parts Foreign.   

       Meanwhile .... hehehehehe   

       <more arm-flapping and giggling>
8th of 7, Feb 14 2018

       OK, you go for the boat route (buy boat; buy trailer; build RC dinghy; put boat on trailer; drive to waterside; put boat in water; head out; release RC dinghy; head for France, leaving an abandoned carfull of forensic evidence; reach France; realize that the horrible mistake you've made is to end up in France).   

       I'll go dronewise (pop into Maplin; buy drone for cash; drive to within a mile of water; release drone; drive home; realize you're still in England; thank your chosen deity).   

       Race ya.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 14 2018

       Too noisy.   

       // (buy boat; buy trailer; build RC dinghy; put boat on trailer; drive to waterside; put boat in water; head out; release RC dinghy; head for France, leaving an abandoned carfull of forensic evidence; reach France; realize that the horrible mistake you've made is to end up in France). //   

       Buy a seagoing yacht with tender. Discreetly purchase the necessary propulsion and control systems, off the shelf. Remove all serial numbers. Premix the ANFO and load it aboard the yacht in 10kg clip-top plastic buckets - safe and stable. Test the r/c system quite openly, just have a person sitting in the boat, apparently steering. Cruise around the coast and into the Thames; release the motorboat; head for the Netherlands amid a flock of other small craft.   

       Drones are short range and have very limited payloads. To trigger the stored munitions, which are intrinsically insensetive (1.1D or 1.3E) a substantial pressure front will be needed. No 1.1A material was on the manifest for the usual safety reasons, so initiation will have to be external.   

       However, it's possible that some acidic fillings will have reacted by now with their casings to form highly unstable metal salts which are extremely shock-sensetive. A small ingress of water is the enabling factor.   

       Occasional sea-bed detonations still occur in Beaufort's Dyke in the Irish Sea, where huge quantites of munitions were dumped post-WW2, but these are localized single events. Of greater concern is material which regularly appears on the Scottish coast - some dumping was very close to shore.
8th of 7, Feb 14 2018

       how did I miss this? hi snarfy mate.
po, Mar 03 2021

       This concept can be applied in many new and exciting ways. Let me suggest the "Surprise Me!" mortgage payment.
sninctown, Mar 03 2021

       If it's quickly fatal, it wouldn't be a surprise.
nineteenthly, Mar 03 2021

       [sninc] that is worthy of a new idea. It could also be run as a reverse lottery, where everyone gets issued a ticket. One unlucky loser gets landed with a bill for 5 million, the proceeds of which is distributed evenly between all valid ticket holders.
pocmloc, Mar 04 2021

       //One unlucky loser gets landed with a bill for 5 million//   

       {looks up from a portfolio of derivatives of mortgage-backed securities}   

       Why so little?
pertinax, Mar 04 2021

       + I like the whole idea of surprises
xandram, Mar 04 2021

       Can we combine this with a temporal relocator & broaden the available spectrum of time it can choose from to include any time between now & last Tuesday?   

       I think the extra element of surprise afforded by this small alteration to your idea would make it much more interesting
Skewed, Mar 06 2021


       Since the late 50's nuclear weapon designers have included a little device called Dial-A-Yield whereby the efficiency of the reaction can be tweaked for the circumstances. Coupling this with the current idea would allow everything from localized city destruction to removal of the city itself, and from noon tomorrow to sometime after the Second Coming. Fun times.
whatrock, Mar 09 2021


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