Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2002 16:59:34 -0800

Author: Eric Ayars

Subject: Re: Touch paper


> Lastly the "tickle paper" that John talked about is
>"Nitrogen of Iodide" which is very unstable explosive when dry, and
>I doubt if you could move the paper much less store it. A feather
>brushing it will set it off. It is made up on the spot, and only in
>small amounts. It is a nice example of an endothermic reaction in
>chemistry, and really wakes a class up.

Speaking of waking the class up: When I was in high school (and keep
in mind that this was in a less security-conscious era) someone made
a large batch of this stuff. Since I don't know what the statute of
limitations on this sort of thing is, let's call him James...

Anyway, James and the other school science nerd made a batch, and
after the school was locked up for the evening they let themselves in
to the hated vice-principal's classroom and spread the wet paste over
the bottom of the trash can. It dried nicely overnight. They had an
8am class there the next morning, and it couldn't have been more
perfect: The first person to throw away a wad of paper was the
teacher's pet, and he thought she'd thrown a bomb! Huge "WHOOMP!",
great cloud of purple smoke, etc.

Eventually, the VP realized that the girl wasn't smart enough to bake
cookies, let alone synthesize explosives, so he came after James and
co. He could never prove anything, though, and had to expel them for
something that someone else did.*


*I never found out all the details about this one, but apparently the
stereo and car battery that were spliced into the school's
long-forgotten intercom system, from a hidden location, playing a
Metallica tape on auto-repeat at high volume, had originated from the
VP's car. That was a nice touch.

Dr. Eric Ayars
Assistant Professor of Physics
Walla Walla College
(509) 527-2476