Corn silo collapse gets hotter than expected


Looks more fun than trying to kick out a sawdust fire.

Did they catch the Klingon?


I kinda forgot about the whole dust ignition thing. Missing an opportunity for back yard scienceing with the curious little minds.

We’re gonna put a bag of flour on a stump next to the brush pile I’m planning on burning tonight anyway and science it with the 12 guage.


Macgyver showed me you can make Booms with custard powder.

Turns out he was kind of right that time.


Anyone still wondering why the flour mill at the end of Sleepy Hollow exploded when an oil lamp got smashed and dropped into it… THIS! Also, I have an ancestor who was killed in a flour store explosion.


Lycopodium powder is what I used for spicing up the dramatic scenes during LARP weekends.

Just a tiny spoonfull in a tube, some flashcotton underneath and a small fuse and … whoosh … FIREBALL !!"


Lycopodium spores are great because they’re structured kind of like tiny open-cell sponges, so they’re pretty much all surface area.

This means they burn very rapidly, producing a bright flash, but almost no sustained thermal pulse.

This is good, because it lets you you do flashy tricks without shock waves and radiant-energy burns. Even indoors. Much safer.

(Some of the other flammable powders suggested here, with much larger and more solid grains, can be genuinely dangerous, and should never be used indoors, and only with great caution outdoors.)


Here’s the trailer for the Michael Bay edition of Farming Simulator

(Yes, this a real game. This isn’t an official trailer mind)


Yup, people got and get killed this way.

Well, when common sense is “DO NOT under ANY circumstances have anything sparky or flammable or burning anywhere near the silo”, not sure how you can get more formally safe? My dad grew up on a farm and told us that was drilled into them from birth.

But then again my grandfather’s younger brother was killed around age 10-12 by burns from a kerosene heater accident (would have been in the 20s), so… progress?

I have to think a certain amount of farm danger came from having children both helping out and running around, who are not always the most safety conscious beings…


This needs to be re-created and filmed for our amusement.


A simple example of a more formal system would be to have in place a written procedure that required that contractors (for example) who were engaged to do repairs at the grain silo received instruction regarding the risk of ignition of wheat dust, and that certain activities such as welding were either prohibited or subject to a strict written protocol that ensured that the risk was managed. Required controls (developed from a structured risk assessment) for something like welding might be:

Ensure contractors were suitably qualified, written authorisation to work, wash down the work area, ensure fire extinguishers were available, provide adequate ventilation, inspection of work area by authorised person trained in prevention of dust ignitions, inspection and certification of contractor’s equipment to ensure compliance with safety requirements, use of fire blankets to control sparks, post-work inspection to check for smoldering material - that sort of thing. The procedures would be part of an overall risk management plan that required periodic audit and update, and ensured that risk controls were appropriate and being adhered to.

The delineation of the area where ignition sources needed to be controlled a with signs, or even locked access, rather than relying solely on word-of-mouth would be another aspect of a more formal system.

These sorts of things are key to effective risk management, rather than relying on “drilled into people from birth” common sense. Might sound over-the-top to people who don’t work in hazardous jobs, but general industry, dealing with risk like this use these sorts of systems. The result is that modern workplaces safer than ever. By a LOT.


Rob Beschizza and the Inadequately Cooked Bramley Apple

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If drunk people can drop and roll, tumble and generally fail to defeat gravity while keeping their beer upright, sober people ought to be able to do this.


I learned this from a very practical high school teacher, with a very illustrative story about his high school woodshop, delinquents smoking cigarettes, and the doors to a room being blown off. Also his friend who lost hearing in one ear that day.


I blame 1960ies violent movies.
They did get the thing about the doors right, though.


For some reason, I read that as corn hole. Oh well.