Tuesday, May 31, 2005

World gone mad...Official

Ok, I heard something that made me laugh out loud today.

It involves a hydrogen bomb.

No, I've not gone insane and suddenly think weapons of mass destruction are funny. Let me explain.

The 'hydrogen bomb' I'm talking about is a simple science project. Basically, it's a high-tech watergun. You press a button, water flies out of the top. Simple.

I'll explain how it's made here, but if you're not interested you can skip ahead and get to the funny part.

Basically you get a plastic box and half fill it with water. Into that you put a 'sparker' from an electric lighter and 2 carbon rods attatched to a 9v battery. What happens is the electric current between the rods seperates the water into hydrogen and oxygen. Then you push the 'sparker' which makes a spark, instantly recombines the hydrogen and oxygen into steam...which bursts out of the top taking a lot of water with it.

You may remember doing an experiment like it in high school chemistry.

Well apparently, a student learned how to make one off the internet, and decided to make one for his highschool science fair.

Unfortunately, his principal heard him telling his friends that he was going to build a 'Hydrogen Bomb' for the science fair. The principal asked him if he was really making a hydrogen bomb, to which the student replied:

"I sure am, my parents are going to buy me the parts for it!"

So the Principal completely wigged out, and called the police. The child ended up going through an early morning police raid on his house as the police searched for 'bomb making materials', and the child has 'implied bomb threat' on his permanent record.

Talk about over-reacting.

Do you want to know the funniest part?

This was the principal of a high school. This is a guy responsible for teaching young children.

Somehow he thought a 12 year old had the engineering knowhow to make a weapon of mass destruction (The bomb that levelled Hiroshima was a hydrogen bomb), and that his parents where getting him the parts for it! Can you imagine that conversation?

"Hey Mom, I want to build a device of unspeakable destruction for my highschool science fair."

"That's nice dear. Anything you need?"

"Just some superconductors, lead shielding, the usual."

"Ok, are you sure you need superconductors?"

"MooOOOooom, you know without superconductors it'll only have a 10 megaton blast, I want one that will take out most of the west coast!"

"Ok dear, but only if you finish your spinach."

How this guy managed to keep his job, I'll never know. If a kid said he was building a bomb, and was going to blow up the school with it, I'd understand. It doesn't take much engineering knowhow to fill a piece of drainpipe with gunpowder and stick a fuse in it, and there are some seriously disturbed kids out there....but a kid saying he was building a hydrogen bomb for the school science fair...and his parents where buying the parts for him!" What the hell!?

To put this into perspective, the Hydrogen Bomb was a major scientific breakthrough, and took the nation's best minds years and millions of dollars to create one. According to this Principal, a 12 year old can knock one up in his basement using parts from radioshack! A kid saying he's bringing his dad's handgun to school, call the police. A child saying he's making a WMD...use your brain.

For your entertainment, here's a copy of the police report. (Incidentally, check out the site, there's some cool stuff on there):


Suspicious Circumstances: Possible Posession of a Destructive Device

B. Allen, Employee #434180

I contacted [the principal] regarding a suspicious circumstances call, tag 627.
[The principal] said about one week ago she heard [the student] talking to a group of students at Hoover Middle School. [The principal] said she heard [the student] say he was building a bomb.

On 02-27-02 [the principal] approached [the student] and asked him if he was really building a bomb. [The student] told her that he was building a hydrogen bomb and his parents were buying the materials to make it for him.

[The principal] said [the student] never threatened to bring the bomb to school or harm anyone with it.

With the help of assiting units I responded to [the boy's address] and searched the residence for any explosive device and materials for its manufacturing (see attached consent to search form authorized by [the student's] father [father's name]).

We were unable to locate any explosive device or manufacturing materials.
I contacted [the student] and asked him if he remembered telling anyone he was making a hydrogen bomb.

[The student] said he did tell people he was making a hydrogen bomb. He said he was making a hydrogen bomb toy from scitoys.com. The toy squirts water out of a hole when it's ignited via 9 volt battery.

[The student] printed out the details of the hydrogen bomb off scitoys.com. See attached 12 page printout.

After examining the scitoys.com printout I came to the conclusion the hydrogen bomb [the student] said he was making was in fact a toy.

Watch Commander, Lt. Stringham, notified of the above.

What really makes me laugh is how the Principal actually asked the kid if he was making a bomb. If he'd asked just one more question (IE It's not an actual bomb is it?) The whole thing would have been avoided. This pricipal guy must have freaked out completely and ran to his office to call the police just seconds after the kid said his parents where buying him the parts.

Did he think Mom and Dad were in on it?

"Who knew Mr. and Mrs Bin Laden could do such a thing?"

What's next? An 8 year old bringing a cruise missile to show and tell? A 10 year old designing and building a nuclear warhead for a sceince project? Here's what the owner of the site had to say about it when he was contected by the Student's Attorney:

I suggested...that it might be useful to look up "bomb calorimeter" in an encyclopedia or a high school chemistry or physics book (or on the Internet).

I also suggested that if I had called the device a "squirt gun" the student might still have been suspended for bringing a "gun" to school.

On the same web site I also show how to make a "cannon" from a film canister, which has been used on a number of occasions to win science fairs by my readers. Another very popular item for science fairs that is shown on my web site is the Gauss Rifle, which I am certain would also upset the person who suspended his client... It rolls marbles across a room.

Anyone else think this is the most ridiculous thing they ever heard. I'm looking forward to a student making an 'Ice Cream Bomb' (kinda like Baked Alaska) in cookery. Apparently, now it's not just a major offence to bring dangerous things to school, just talking about something that sounds dangerous, no matter how unbelieveable, justifies police involvement.

I'm sorry, I just can't get over this. A Principal thinks a 12 year old is capable of building a weapon capable of reducing a major city to dust...and the kid isn't thinking about world domination, he just wants to build a WMD to score big at the science fair!...and the Principal is so freaked out, rather than take a moment to clarify what the kid's talking about...he calls the police!

Science Fair H-Bomb... I still can't beleive it.

"On your left is the table-top volcano, a radio made from a drinks can, a home-made lava lamp... and on your right is little Billy's WMD.

Can you imagine if the judges asked him to demonstrate it?

"Well, we only really have your word that it's a Hydrogen Bomb, and it's pretty and everything...makes a neat humming noise... but it's not exactly proof is it? You couldn't set it off could you?.........I don't care if you don't think it's a good idea, if you want the credit, you'll have to blow it up.........yes, young man, I am aware of what a H-Bomb can do, I am a teacher you know.........Yes I am sure. Do as you're told or I'll fail you."


"Oh dear, I appear to have been reduced to my constituent elements. Oh well, it certainly was an H-Bomb, A+ that boy!"

It's almost as bad as the kid who got suspended from school for drawing pictures of weapons. he was doodling between classes and drew a picture of a handgun. Let me get that straight, he didn't 'draw a weapon' as in 'pull out a weapon'...he drew a picture of a gun.

"Get down everyone! This scribble's loaded!"

Apparently a kid who draws guns and plays army with his friends at playtime is a dangerous subversive and future terrorist.

I'm all for security a vigilance, but come on...gimme a break!

Watch your kids people, if they've ever pointed a stick at someone and said RATATATATATA!!! call the police. They may just be building a nuclear device in their bedroom.

Be extra careful if anything in their school bag glows green and has a 'Warning Radioactive' sticker on it.


serendipity said...

You are so right - the world has indeed gone star raving bonkers. I laughed when I read your post but on reflection there is something profoundly disturbing about it.

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