# How to safely topple a statue using science

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/06/17/how-to-safely-topple-a-statue.html

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The old Confederate statues are often bronze over a steel shell. Cheap junk, and not nearly as heavy as a solid bronze statue. If you want to do one of those in, you can make a small hole in it somewhere and then fill it with any of a number of destructive substances, including simple corrosives. My favorite is a rather modest bit of thermite, which will slag it off at the ankles.

Whatever you do, FOR FUCK’S SAKE plan six times how you’re going to avoid hurting yourself and most importantly anyone else.

Then wait until morning and don’t do it.

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Damn engineers who have never picked up anything heavy in their whole damn lives.

First red flag: looking to OSHA for “how much force can a human exert” estimates for pulling and then only doubling it. Worse: the idiot journalist comparing that number to the total mass of the statue. Jesus. You don’t need 35 people to pull down a 3500# statue. A normal adult can pretty easily generate the force to push over a 350# tire, and do it multiple times. Strong adults can readily flip tires 2-3 times as heavy. If the statue isn’t anchored with rebar, a crew of 7-10 will do it. If it is anchored deep in the ground with rebar, the calculation is different and I don’t want to figure it out.

That said, there is a very important calculation that needs the total mass of the statue. Dropping 3500# of anything on a person is not easily survivable. And if you do survive, you are highly likely to have permanent injuries.

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Dude’s overthinking it. In my day we’d use positively charged slime to make the statues walk themselves off their pedestals into nearby bodies of water. Only requires four guys, too.

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That’s what pulleys and levers are for.

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A man who carries a high pulley count snatch block and knows how to use it to get shit done is a man to properly fear.

You can do some really crazy shit with those if you know what you’re doin.

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Just do it like the Iraqis pulled down Saddam’s statue.

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If that is indeed their construction, drill a hole at top, fill with a few pounds of salt.

It might rust it from the inside without anyone noticing, and then it collapses? (over months or years, too slow…)

Or perhaps drop thermite inside, then seal hole shut with a quick weld, so the thermite just burns up all oxygen inside statue, creating a powerful vaccum, that makes the statue implode on itself?

Ultimate fun and guaranteed way- rent or buy a plasma cutter, and a gas generator- portable statue decapitator. Slice up any metal statue like butter into a bunch of tiny pieces, carry away by each person willing to stand guard. Nothing stands up to a plasma cutter if its conductive.

If you get something powerful like a Procut 80, doesnt matter if its solid bronze- gouge chop it up 1" deep slices, carve it away, sell it for scrap, and donate the proceeds to a food shelter or something actually useful.

All hypothetically, of course

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A snatch block will get the job done. Best part? If you plan your anchors right, you stand well to the side of the statue away from where it’s going to fall.

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Thermite’s oxidizer is the iron oxide powder in the mix. It doesn’t use oxygen from the atmosphere. It burns underwater.

The plasma cutter is great idea, and you don’t even need a particularly heavy duty one to get through the material thickness in the article.

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The Popular Mechanics article describes using thermite as an alternative method.
Or liquid nitrogen. Or both.

Me, I’d rent some proper construction equipment. It’s practically designed for the job.

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There’s an art conservator in the UK who had a thread on twitter in how to cause bronze disease, rendering any bronze statue unsightly in a process that can’t really be reversed with current technology. (The secret is tomatoes). Unfortunately she had to get off twitter after all the death threats, so, as much as it pains me here’s the Daily Mail story on her thread. Of course they are OUTRAGED and keep repeating how she’s a) American, b) privately educated and c) married to a banker.

It’s insane how they keep repeating their talking points 5 or 6 times in their story just so they stick.

Funnily enough all this outrage is for nothing anyway since bronze disease takes centuries to spread while this is a very urgent problem right now.

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Ankle Grinder.

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“The loss of memory by a nation is also the loss of its conscience.” Zbigniew Herbert

I’m sure protestors can make a crude pulley from trash if they’re determined enough

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You get your memory/history from statuary?

Monuments are not for recording history. They’re for uplifting those we think should be revered. Who defines the “we” in that last sentence is everything.

ETA: To be clear, the definition of “monument” used here isn’t about a memorial or remembrance, I’m using this one: “A statue, building, or other structure erected to commemorate a famous or notable person or event.”

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Sadly,you are wrong. Scars (of all types) are also memories. We should never sweep dirt under the rug.
A single exemple;
A Stolperstein (pronounced [ˈʃtɔlpɐˌʃtaɪn ([listen); plural Stolpersteine ; literally “stumbling stone”, metaphorically a “stumbling block”) is a [sett(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sett_(paving))-size, ten-centimetre (3.9 in) concrete cube bearing a brass plate inscribed with the name and life dates of victims of Nazi extermination or persecution.
The Stolpersteine project, initiated by the German artist Gunter Demnig in 1992, aims to commemorate individuals at exactly the last place of residency—or, sometimes, work—which was freely chosen by the person before he or she fell victim to Nazi terror, euthanasia, eugenics, deportation to a concentration or extermination camp, or escaped persecution by emigration or suicide. As of December 2019, 75,000[1] Stolpersteine have been laid, making the Stolpersteine project the world’s largest decentralized memorial.[2][3]

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The dirt was always there, under that pretty rug. This is about pulling the rug back to expose it.

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