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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » All I never wanted to know, I learned from Breaking Bad

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Author Topic: All I never wanted to know, I learned from Breaking Bad
Pete at Home
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* Human teeth explode like popcorn when they get too hot.

* A round plastic kiddie-pool full of hydrofloric acid is the cheapest most efficient way to obliterate human remains.

* Tweakers dig digging.


...

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scifibum
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I really love that show, but I tend to assume a lot of the science-y stuff is just made up. Like the popcorn thing. (I don't need to know if I'm wrong about that.)
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Pete at Home
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I've looked up a lot of the science stuff, and so far have been horrified to see that it's true, ( though with a little tweak of exaggeration, e.g. fulminated mercury isn't clear and doesn't have quite that much pow per gram).

[actual Mercury Fulminate explosion]

more Mercury Fulminate

Haven't looked up the teeth popcorn thing, and don't want to know if it's true. Shudder.

[ July 19, 2012, 07:57 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Brian
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Pete, don't read this section!


Calcium carbonate (teeth and bones) turns to calcium oxide and carbon dioxide gas when roasted. There is also the organic interior which is mostly water, which boils away.
The enamel is very hard and contains the pressure of all that gas...for a while.

I assume that a tooth not connected to the jaw won't explode, or if there is a cavity, or thin enamel, etc.

But it won't look like popcorn. The enamel cracks and vents giving a string of popping sounds, but it won't turn inside out like corn does. It will just be a broken hollow tooth.


Pete, you can start reading again.

How did they get rid of the kiddie pool full of acidic human soup? I would think a steel barrel would work better.
But yeah, HF is amazingly dangerous stuff. You should see the layers of packaging needed to ship it.

[ July 20, 2012, 09:34 AM: Message edited by: Brian ]

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Pete at Home
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HF won't dissolve steel?
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Pete at Home
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"The enamel cracks and vents giving a string of popping sounds, but it won't turn inside out like corn does. It will just be a broken hollow tooth."

Interesting. But wouldn't that depend on how fast the heat onset occurred? The two bodies in the show were doused in extremely pyrogenic chemicals and then set alight in an instant blaze that apparently was powerful enough to melt metal

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Pete at Home
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Holy Mole. They actually gave us subtitles today. I guess Spanish is considered another Lingua Franca in America, German not so much?
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Brian
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HF will dissolve steel eventually. I was assumimg you wanted to move the soup somewhere other than your own back yard. Have you ever tried to move a kiddie pool full of water?
At least with a barrel you can put on the lid and take it to the dump or wherever.

For the serious human-soup chefs, they do make big barrels out of the heavy plastic which is about the only thing which is HF-resistant.


Yeah, if there is enough of the organic material still inside the tooth, it probably would bloom out when the enamel cracks.

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Pete at Home
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In Breaking Bad, about 7-8 minutes into Episode 3, Season 1, master chemist Walter White uses a plastic 5-gallon bucket to dump HF human soup that he scooped from the kiddie pools down the toilet and flushed it. I take it that's where the realism broke down? Plumbing pipes might not like that much, eh? Seems that HF would eat through bronze or copper pretty fast.

I'd be relieved if they did slip in some misinformation to screw over folks that tried to use the show as a handbook to get away with murder.

[ July 24, 2012, 04:40 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Brian
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Actually, that would probably work.
You would have to flush several times to rinse the residual acid out of the pipes, and if you have a septic tank rather than a hook-up to the town sewer system it would eventually destroy your tank, but not immediately.
For a one-off, I'd say that works better than a barrel, but for repeated applications, you'd want to take the waste somewhere else. Doing it several times would definitely destroy the plumbing.

ETA: Now that I think on it, most outflow pipes are PVC nowadays. That would give you several more years in which to pefect your recipe...

But the septic tank would still give out in a few years, especially if you keep doing it.
And the sewer people would notice the spike in acid levels and calcium and whatnot.

[ July 24, 2012, 09:48 AM: Message edited by: Brian ]

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LetterRip
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Couldn't he neutralize it with a base - milk of magnesia? Then easy to dispose of.
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Brian
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I was actually going to mention that - there are a couple of chemicals which are specifically good at neutralizing HF - but I decided not to name them, just in case. [Smile]

But the chemical by-products would still be be in the waste stream, so this would only work as a rare occurrance, or if you have your own septic system, or maybe if you live in a big city, where the shear volume of sewage would swamp any spike from your soup.
I don't know if big systems do testing at the sub-stations or if it is only at the main processing plant.

But if you live out in the country (with your own septic tank) I would think a wood chipper would work better - just turn them into compost.

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Pete at Home
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Baking soda, neh?
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LetterRip
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Pete nope, carbon dioxide bubbles + HF = splashing and holes everywhere, unless you do really thin layers of HF or have a really deep container.

If you had it in plastic barrels you could use a PVC tube with a bend and let the baking soda slide down without much risk though.

[ July 25, 2012, 01:14 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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LetterRip
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Brian,

DNA and other forensic evidence would still exist from your woodchipper.

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Grant
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Calcium Gluconate?
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Pete at Home
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They do graduate to big industrial plastic barrels in BB.

Imagin they dump them in the New Mexico desrt.

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