March 27, 2011

In London, "protesters threw light bulbs filled with ammonia at police."

Were these old-style incandescent light bulbs or compact fluorescents? Because if they were compact fluorescents, protesters threw light bulbs filled with ammonia and mercury.

50 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

I expect, old style, high volume bulbs. cheaper also :)

AllenS said...

I consider myself to be kinda handy at working on things. I have no idea how I'd accomplish a project of inserting ammonia in a light bulb. Incandescent or fluorescent.

shoutingthomas said...

The culture of the dole produces absolutely horrible, lazy entitled brats.

I've met some of these "anarchists" from the U.K. Many waste their time in the music biz. Being on the dole allows them to be pretenders all their lives.

Maguro said...

For a regular lightbulb, I don't see why you couldn't drill a hole in the bottom, pour in the liquid and seal it back up. I don't think drilling in through the ottom would shatter the bulb.

Leland said...

Well fortunately they weren't smart enough to fill some light bulbs with ammonia and others with chlorine.

Ann Althouse said...

The "Anarchist Cookbook" has a chapter "exploding light bulbs"... so I assume the technology is already well-known.

The Drill SGT said...

Leland, yeah, nothing good comes from that mix regardless of the proportions.

Althouse, yeah, not the same function, but they do use Maguro's drill trick.

AllenS said...

I learn something every day.

Issob Morocco said...

EU countries have already started eliminating the incandescent bulbs back in Aug. 2009. 100watts and 75 watts are no longer sold, 60 watts until Sept. of this year and the remainder by 2012.

So likelihood of them using mercury based CFL's is moderately high, although those bulbs cost about $14 per bulb, while incandescents about $1. That economics differential would temper the use of a more expensive bulb, versus a less expensive one. But since a lot of these anarchists tend to be from affluenza families, you cannot rule out that mercury poisoning was part of the ammonia 'bombs'

Lincolntf said...

I'm gonna give the bulb-filling thing a try out in my shed (with water, of course). I've got a couple burned out bulbs of both types that need to be disposed of.
I'm envisioning two problems: Holding the bulb in a vise or clamp without cracking it.
The drill bit going through the base so roughly that it tears the bulb up.
I'm sure there'll be other hassles, but what else am I gonna do on a rainy Sunday morning?

chickelit said...

I'm sorry I should know more. As a chemist, I actually worked with pure liquid ammonia, condensing it from cold bulb to cold bulb under vacuum (by bulb I just mean sealed glass vessel). The pressure that would build inside something as thin-skinned as an ordinary light build (either type) at room temperature (ammonia is a gas at 25 C) would have been too dangerous to handle.

So I assume we're talking about something less than that here. Maybe an aqueous solution of ammonia, which is really ammonium hydroxide. My guess is that the bulbs were the incandescent types because of their larger volume. The bulbs would still have to be sealed because even ammonium hydroxide is smelly stuff. I suppose that the bulbs would easily burst near their targets and fill the space with the nasty odor of ammonia gas.

I did write about how ammonia is like sex back here though if it helps.

Robert said...

It is coming our way folks....seeds and ammunition are the wise investments. Barry = Jimmy squared

http://inflation.us/foodpriceprojections.pdf

chickelit said...

P.S. There's a recipe for incendiary white phosphorus from piss here. I'm not sure if that's in the Anarchist's Cookbook or not as I lost my copy years ago.

EDH said...

Careful with that amonia.

"Yow! It's a white tornado."

txrxqa said...

Maguro said:
"For a regular lightbulb, I don't see why you couldn't drill a hole in the bottom, "

It's not quite that simple ... the nipple that the bulb was evacuated through is found here (concealed in the base), as are the wires exiting the bulb interior ...

Michael K said...

This was obviously well planned and the anarchists will be in every demonstration now. Civilization is a thin veneer.

Lincolntf said...

First bulb (incandescent) didn't last two seconds of drilling. I wasn't being very careful and I think I might have pushed it at a bit of an angle. I don't think I'm gonna try the CFL's until I have a better plan. Maybe I'll cheat and Google instructions

txrxqa said...

Ann Althouse:
The "Anarchist Cookbook" has a chapter "exploding light bulbs"... so I assume the technology is already well-known.

Upon review, I find this refers to 'rigging' a bulb socket to explode as the wall light switch is flipped on ... not quite the same thing (being diplomatic here).

Reference: http://www.jasmusic.com/anarchistcookbook5.aspx?topic=064


A also enjoyed the admonition to caution by the author of this website, to wit:

"This is an internet classic, and the advice given by the author will probably get yourself killed before you do an ounce of harm to anyone else. So enjoy the read." (Emphasis mine)

.

AllenS said...

Well, that does it. I'm heading out to the shop where I have a fine array of tools.

WV: nabjec

One tool that I don't own.

txrxqa said...

The 'cookbook' does mention how the base might be removed, however, no instruction is given how to gain access to the bulb's volume for the placement of materials ...

.

Maguro said...

Interesting technical problem, but I guess what I'm wondering now is why go to all the trouble of filling lightbulbs? Couldn't you achieve the same effect using beer bottles or some other breakable vessel that's easier to work with?

Lincolntf said...

I'm gonna give another incandescent bulb a try and record the process on my webcam. I think I only have one dead bulb left, so if this one breaks that's it.
I'm thinking of wrapping the bulb in newspaper (or cloth or maybe something spongy) before I put it in the vise. Also considering going through the side of the screw-in base rather than the very bottom.

edutcher said...

And the ringleaders. the organizers of these riots, dare I ask how they describe their work?

Robert said...

It is coming our way folks....seeds and ammunition are the wise investments. Barry = Jimmy squared

More like to the tenth.

DaveW said...

I think with enough practice I could figure out how to drill an incandescent bulb through the base. You'd want to go very slowly using a high speed drill with a sharp bit.

Inside the base though, and once the vacuum was gone, you'd have to work out how to drill up through that glass piece that holds the tungsten element, maybe around the edge through that phenolic coating. That part might be tough.

I think the base is sealed with something soft like lead after they put a vacuum on the bulb.

lemondog said...

Snotnose dipwads. Is this the country that went through WW2 and managed to survive the blitiz?

Was curious about the UK budget numbers. Appears with 2010 austerity and revenue growth they were able to shrink the budget gap. Peanuts by US standards but still action better now then later:

2010

Revenues £548 bn
Spending: £697 bn

2011

Revenues £589 bn
Spending £710 bn . This includes £50 bn in debt interest payment.

DaveW said...

Speaking of CFLs.

I've said before I have a mirror strip in the bathroom I use with the globe-type CFLs installed across the type. The light is poor quality but no big deal since I'm not putting on makeup.

Anyway, I put them in I think 3 years ago, 4 across the top. Since then they've burned out at a ferocious rate, like one per month. I kept thinking they'd get better over time as the manufacturers learned how to make better ones, and maybe someday they will.

But for now, not so much. I just had yet another one burn out. My fourth package of those crappy bulbs is gone, so time to go to Walmart for another $10 3-pack. Those pieces of garbage burn out at a rate about 3-4 times faster than the incandescent ones.

And since nobody around here has educated the public on what to do with them they're getting tossed in the trash by I bet 98% of people using them. Our grandkids are going to have a legacy of mercury filled landfills to clean up - and since this is the gulf coast I'm sure it's already leaching into the food supply to some extent.

ErnieG said...

Tim Blair calls attention to the irony of anarchists protesting reduced government.

His post: Youths Sans Dictionaries

AllenS said...

I'm back, and I shall now file my report --

First, I used an incandescent heavy duty bulb. That's the kind that is used in a trouble light. Using my DeWalt 3/8 inch variable speed drill, I was unable to drill a 1/8 inch pilot hole through the base. So, I used a hacksaw and sawed through the base about a third of the way down. Leaving part of the base intact, I peeled that part back. Then, I had to use my drill again with a 1/4 inch bit and drilled through the little bit of glass. I was able to fill it with water, pouring slowly with the bulb tiled sideways a little to let the air out.

This afternoon, I think I build a heavy duty waterboard.

Milwaukee said...

Light bulbs, unlike beer bottles, are thin, and more likely to break. Beer bottles only seem to break when you don't want them to. Why do you think bashing somebody with a beer bottle is a good idea? The bottle is heavy. The way to attack the incandescent light bulb is through the base. Once upon a time mobsters used to fill them with gasoline. One trick is to immerse them in the desired liquid, and peel off the little metal tab at the bottom. The vacuum will suck in the desired liquid.

But this is all a distraction. The point is that this signals a serious escalation in the violence directed towards the authorities. Ammonia in light bulbs could cause blindness, and for those with compromised respiratory systems endanger life. The police response was weak and ineffectual. They planned for 100,000 protesters and 500,000 showed up. The authorities need to seriously stiffen their spines, or this isn't going to end well. What happens when they run out of other people's money to spend?

CachorroQuente said...

A CFL is not a "light bulb," so it's very likely that they are using incandescent bulbs.

Apparently, exploding light bulbs can be made by filling a bulb with ammonia and inserting it into a lamp (base down). The tungsten filament heats to a temperature that is within the narrow temperature band that will cause ammonia to ignite.

I've not drilled a hole in a light bulb but if it's difficult to do without breaking the bulb, might try putting a small amount of super glue on the bulb and drilling in the center of the cured glue spot using a very small carbide bit at high speed and very low force.

There are sites on the net which imply it's relatively easy to puncture a bulb with a hypodermic needle; should be easily available wihin the "anarchist" group.

AllenS said...

I think I build

Tomorrow, I'll work on my English.

txrxqa said...

AllenS said:

I'm back, and I shall now file my report --

First, I used an incandescent heavy duty bulb. That's the kind that is used in a trouble light. Using my DeWalt 3/8 inch variable speed drill, I was unable to drill a 1/8 inch pilot hole through the base. So, I used a hacksaw and sawed ...


You don't own a propane torch - or are my posts not coming through?

Removal of the base is covered by the 'cookbook' as mentioned in a post up thread ...

.

lemondog said...

I think I build

Therefore I am.

What keeps the glass part of the bulb attached to and inside the metal portion?

txrxqa said...

DaveW said:

"Speaking of CFLs.

... a mirror strip in the bathroom I use with the globe-type CFLs installed across the type. ...

... put in 3 years ago, 4 across the top. ... burned out at a ferocious rate, like one per month. I kept thinking they'd get better over time as the manufacturers learned how to make better ones, and maybe someday they will.
"

I have to ask:

1) are the bulbs within an enclosure that restricts air flow?

2) do the bulbs see excessive moisture/condensation as a result of the running of showers, steam baths or anything similar?

A friend narrowed it down to condensate forming on the CFL electronics and causing issues in his particular bathroom application ... I have had reasonably good luck using CFLs, but, I've opened up those enclosures that restricted air flow around the CFLs.

.

Lincolntf said...

Good work, Allen S. I went out to try my second bulb and ended up cleaning the shed instead.

AllenS said...

txrxqa,

I'm not sure what you're talking about re: propane torch.

lemondog said...
What keeps the glass part of the bulb attached to and inside the metal portion?

I only cut through the metal portion about a third of the way down from the tip. The glass stayed in the two-thirds part of the threaded metal part.

Ut said...

"The "Anarchist Cookbook" has a chapter "exploding light bulbs ..."

Again, you suggest anarchists are to blame here, and not ordinary government officials agitating for more taxes to fund their pensions.

Anarchists would have thrown molotov cocktails designed to BURN SHIT.

Tossing mercury-lined GE light bulbs at the cops is an attempt by government officials to suggest violence where there really isn't any real violence.

It's an attempt to intimidate the population into paying higher taxes to support all those firemen and teachers and ... yes ... cops.

It's government thuggery at its height.

There's absolutely NO evidence that anyone OTHER than government officials were participants in this demonstration.

Ut said...

"I guess what I'm wondering now is why go to all the trouble of filling lightbulbs? Couldn't you achieve the same effect using beer bottles"

Here's what real violence looks like if what you're trying to do is to end corrupt institutions (this occurred in Egypt):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhjIS3ReePg

Nobody throws GE light bulbs who is serious about anything. Molotov cocktails are easy to make from readily available material (a rag and a gasoline-filled beer bottle) and they produce actual destruction by fire - not the faux violence of mere glass-breaking.

What you saw in London yesterday was teachers and firefighters and other civil servants broke some plate glass windows because they're having a tempter tantrum.

Nobody actually destroyed anything. No molotov's were tossed. And that's how you can surmise that anarchists weren't involved.

Eventually, the government employees will begin burning shit down to get their way.

But we aren't there yet.

Ut said...

" ... they're getting tossed in the trash by I bet 98% of people using them."

I toss mine in the trash on principle.

The only way we're going to get natural-material incandescent light bulbs back is to create an environmental disaster of epic mercurial proportions.

So be it.

Not like we didn't warn these dumb fuckers. And I'm tired of warning these bastards. Fuck 'em. Let 'em get mercury poisoning.

Serves 'em right.

Issob Morocco said...

Allen S

Understand I

;-)

Lucius said...

@lincoln: I'm glad the shed got cleaned, but please don't try and hurt yourself drilling these godforsaken mercury bulbs. You've more than done your duty, sir.

@Ut: I feel you on this, but I would advise holding out with incandescents as long as you can. Buying more mercury bulbs to toss only feeds the machine-- and tossing them in the garbage (as I'm sure 99.9999% of people do) is only enhancing the collateral damage.

I can't tell you how angry the mercury bulbs make me. It's one thing I go apeshit crazy about. This is an absolute stupidity-- mind-boggling on every level. Yes, these ecofools are willfully creating an eco-disaster, cutting off their heads to spite a pimple.

Ugly, poisonous, ineffectual, unreliable, harmful to migraine sufferers, autists, and yes, anyone with aesthetic sense enough to enjoy the sheer radiant pleasure of **light**.

I would gladly pour a glass of water in the face of anyone identified with "Ban the Bulb" movements if I found them at the same dinner table as myself.

And the same goes, btw. for anyone who tosses 'bombs' of any description at a rally. Short of a Soviet troop formation marching below your window, it is simply unconscionable.

Jack said...

The classic method of drilling a hole in glass is to use a short length of copper or brass tubing and an abrasive slurry, such as valve grinding compound or emery paste. Best done in a drill press.

However, clean up afterward because you don't want abrasives in the drill press bearings.

Jack

rhhardin said...

My microwave broke this morning, which might be appliance sympathy pains.

Fortunately I have a backup microwave in the basement, of lesser wattage so as not to overload a generator in power outages, and I promoted it to the kitchen.

Now to order yet another replacement from Amazon.

At $50 new I don't imagine there's much work for microwave repairmen.

CachorroQuente said...

At $50 new I don't imagine there's much work for microwave repairmen.

True. But, if the unit does nothing (no indications at all) you might want to open up the broken MW to see if the problem is a burned out fuse. I've had two MWs over the years that blew fuses. The first, the fuse was a normal buss fuse that costs about $0.25. The one we have now (10 yo) blows one about every two to three years. It uses a special fuse which is available from Ace hardware at about $3 per.

It takes less than a minute and costs nothing to check.

If you've got lights or anything, it's probably something other than the fuse as the fuses (in my experience) are on the main power to the unit.

Hoosierman said...

I have thought of breaking some cfl bulbs in a public place, maybe on a college campus or near a federal building to see what the response would be. Would some organizations go all in and declare a hazmat emergency? I think it is just a matter of picking the right organization.If caught would I be charged with willful endangerment or attempted homicide?

Paul said...

If they filled them with amonia, then the mercury probably leaked out on them! They were just to dumb to know.

Now ain't that a shame.

DaveW said...

@txrxqa-

Here's the bath. Sorry, small room, hard to photo. Notice the strip across the top and the burned out bulb on the right. It's just a small 3rd bathroom where I shave and brush my teeth. It does have a seldom used shower but it also has a room vent fan.

I really doubt there's enough moisture in there to cause the type of problem you're describing, but even if there is I'm not sure what that would mean since the regular bulbs like this are no longer available. Should we go without light in the bathroom (/sarc)?

Here's the suspect bulb type. Every one of these I've purchased has had a short life. I've used at least 3 brands, Philips, the Home Depot brand and another I can't remember. All have dismal results.

As far as I can tell it's just that globe style bulb and they all suck. The regular ones I've used have been relatively trouble free with a few exceptions early on.

Beau said...

Our grandkids are going to have a legacy of mercury filled landfills to clean up - and since this is the gulf coast I'm sure it's already leaching into the food supply to some extent.

Good grief. Oil and now increased mercury which has been showing up in sea life for a good while.

Obama chose the CEO of GE the major manufacturer of mercury bulbs as the head his outside panel of economic advisers. Everyone is sure be safe now.

I'm still stocking up on incandescent. I don't want mercury raining down on me in an earthquake.

Milwaukee said...

Those drilling into their incandescent light bulbs are working way too hard. Do you really think those lame protesters have your technological skill? Think of something simple. The threads of an incandescent light bulb are conductive metal, then there is insulating material, and finally a little metal tab on the bottom. Remove that metal tab with a knife. The exposed hole has wires showing. Take a nail in a pair of pliers, and dig around the exposed wires. After awhile use a straightened wire coat hanger and breakup the insides of the bulb. As for filling it with liquid, some sort of turkey baster with a narrowed tip will force liquid in while letting the air out. Incandescent light bulbs are much easier to break than beer bottles, and more of the projectile weight is noxious payload. With a beer bottle the range is diminished because of the weight of the projectile container.

Fernandinande said...

I have no idea how I'd accomplish a project of inserting ammonia in a light bulb. Incandescent or fluorescent.

Neither does anyone else. That's why it didn't happen.