The spores of club moss have magical powers


Originally published at:


Small world. I was a bouncer at Club Moss. It was an The IT Crowd-themed bar. As an accurate representation of the Maurice Moss experience, it was a terrible bar.


I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if the participants of the previously posted fart war had access to these spores.


So it’s hydrophobic, moves powerfully to high frequency sound/electric charge…i wonder if we couldn’t use it to form temporary structures within the body for emergency surgery etc.


When I was a kid every book in the 793.8 section of the library described this ‘dry hand’ trick, but I had no idea where to get the powder, nor was I ever led to believe the powder’s presence would be detectable when performing the trick.


There’s a very juvenile metaphor hiding in there somewhere…


The behaviors of otherwise prosaic materials when provided with truly heroic amounts of surface area have a habit(when they don’t just explode) of verging between ‘black magic’ and ‘definitely witchcraft’.

All the various properties that are always present, but can often be dismissed as negligible(electrostatic effects, adsorption, etc.) just come out front and center and start dominating the overall behavior of the system.

(On another note; I’m glad that you’ve decided to use plant spores for your ‘barbaric immolation of the unborn for our amusement’. Not using fungal spores is a good choice; and you should keep that in mind.)


Mr. Wizard was a big fan of lycopodium. I remember him using it in quite a few different demos.



How irriated am I that there’s not already a premade gif of Jack Wilder fighting Agent Rhodes with handfuls of flash paper?

And how lazy am I, for not making one?


My chemistry teacher showed us how to make an impressive fireball with lycopodium powder in a blowpipe.

Not having access to lycopodium, we tried to replicate it with any other powders we had available. Dried milk powder works nearly as well as lycopodium.


We didn’t get the fireball; my middle school chemistry teacher did show us how to make flash paper and the inner workings of ‘snapper-popper’ twists. All hail potassium permanganate!


I love the demo, but my inner* pedant cringes at the script.

Spores aren’t exclusively single-cell, and naming something is not the same thing as providing a “reason” for it.


* OK, not really very well internalised…


Everything has magical powers, so that is not very surprising.


Why have these not been combined yet? Imagine how you could impress the local swinger’s club if you turned up with a flaming cock!


I was just remembering the Mythbusters episode where they set fire to some like a 50 pounds of non-dairy creamer (like CoffeeMate® or whatever) out in a field. Massive fireball. Very satisfying.

Especially since non-dairy creamer is foul-tasting stuff. I’d rather take my coffee black than drink that stuff.


While hiking in The Adirondacks with some folks I convinced them that Club Moss was actually bonsai cedar trees that have been formed by beaver nibbling on the young leaves & moles nibbling on the roots. I called it beaver bonsai.


Dry floaty powder. Open flame. No eye protection. I wonder what could go wrong?


I got into a convo with a materials scientist a week or two ago who went on for a solid hour about the amazing properties of pretty much everything if it’s “finely divided”.

Apparently if you powder gold down to a small enough particle size (can’t remember how small but definitely on the nanometer scale) it turns from gold color to purple when suspended in water.


I never tested it myself, but one of my ceramics professors said that non-dairy creamer makes a reasonably good low fire glaze.