All right, so how the hell do you get milk to explode?
Well, first you have to take the water out of it, and get powdered milk (a primary ingredient in things such as baby formula and chocolate candy). However, if its particles become suspended in the air and are somehow ignited, the resulting fire is oxygenated so quickly that you've got yourself a dust explosion. A fucking serious one, too. Some of the aftermath in this video looks like the result of a B-52 bombing run:
The dust explosion works the same way that a carburetor does by mixing a burnable material with air. The most common cause is heavy machinery, which kick up huge dust clouds during their daily operation. Friction and/or sparks produced by the machines can occasionally ignite those clouds, resulting in a milk-fueled explosion strong enough to demolish a building.
You know how I do.
That's exactly what happened at an evaporated-milk processing plant in Visalia, California in 2008. Years of excess powdered milk dust stuck on the machinery and suddenly detonated, shattering the plant's outer wall and setting the building ablaze.
All told, the explosion caused $200,000 worth of damage and the evacuation of some 200 factory employees, victims of the wrath of dehydrated dairy. And as shocked as those guys must have been, they probably still weren't as surprised as the people saw explosions of their...
#2. Consumer Electronics
Lithium-ion batteries are turning up in lots of consumer electronics these days, including cell phones, laptops and mp3 players. The batteries hold a lot of energy for their size, which is what makes them great for tiny devices. But it's also what makes them dangerous.
Overheating has been a continuing problem with these batteries, and when we say "overheat," we mean they fucking burst into flames. Consider the fact that most consumer electronics are carried in enclosed spaces (like your pocket) in direct proximity to a heat source (your body) and you begin to see the danger. When you remember that your pocket is really close to your crotch, "danger" graduates to "holy shit how does a loving god allow this to happen."
Recently, a 15-year-old boy was dismayed to look down one day in class and find that the burning sensation in his pants was not another involuntary erection, but rather a raging inferno of top-shelf electronics going up in flames.
His iPod Touch had burst and melted through his clothes, causing second degree burns. Apple had no comment, presumably because there isn't an app for dick-searing crotch explosions.
You may remember Dell experienced a similar and highly publicized debacle a few years ago when its laptops went through a recall after it was discovered that inadequate airflow caused the battery packs to go nuclear at inconvenient times.
The most inconvenient, of course, would be while using it on your lap. Arguably just beneath that would be while displaying it at a tech convention.
Picture this resting gingerly above your genitals.
Not wanting to be outdone by big-city laptops and iPods, a cell phone upped the ante by actually killing someone. A man in China had his phone in the breast pocket of his shirt when the battery suddenly superheated and exploded, severing an artery in his neck. Wait, didn't the chair impalement supposedly happen in China? What the hell is going on over there?
#1. A Lake
Of all the things on Earth that you would suspect as an explosion hazard, we're guessing the nice, placid lake next to your home is way the hell down at the bottom of the list (below even milk, maybe).
How? Well, it happens when a lake sits on top a volcanic area and is slowly filled with carbon-dioxide gas that trickles in through vents at the bottom. Everything sits quietly for a while, like that first family dinner after your mom catches you masturbating.
All it takes is something to disturb the surface of the water, like some falling rocks or an earthquake, and the entire volume of carbon dioxide is released in a massive eruption.
It's kind of like opening a can of soda after it's been shaken, if the can was large enough to hold a lake. Furthermore, as the carbon dioxide gas rises through the water before breaking the surface, it suffocates all the oxygen-breathers in the water; that is, all the fish. All of them. In the entire lake.
"I CAN'T BREATHE!"
There've been two widely studied cases of such explosions, in Lakes Nyos and Lake Monoun, both located in Africa and both eerily similar.
After the initial fish killing eruption, the cloud of CO2 settled on the ground like Stephen King's The Mist and suffocated all the livestock nearby before rolling downhill and engulfing several villages.
There's no way around it: this looks like a vagina.
The CO2 hit quickly and invisibly, acting fast enough to stop running truck motors. Combined, the two eruptions killed over 1,700 people and 3,500 heads of livestock. Though, for some reason, we're still more scared of the office chair thing.
Josh Pearce is voiced by James Earl Jones and portrayed physically by David Prowse. Here is his personal site.
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To find out how you can blow yourself up, check out 6 Badass Tricks You Can Do With Fire (That Might Kill You). Or find out about some unexpected explosions on the big screen, in The 5 Most Baffling Explosions in Movie History.