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Saturday afternoon Mythbusters

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Saturday afternoon Mythbusters

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Marvin Kaboom
So, we were all sitting around, as we do, and eternaleponine was watching Prince Caspian on her laptop, when all of a sudden she started making upset noises, along with cries of "Continuity fail!" I looked over to see what was going on, and she ran the movie back to show that when Peter tore off the bottom of his shirt, it was all gone, and then a few frames later, half of the shirt tail was there. Okay. Continuity fail.

Then the upset noises started again. "That wouldn't work!"

"What wouldn't?" I asked.

Apparently Peter had torn off his shirttail to wrap around a stick and turn it into a makeshift torch. With no oil, or gasoline, or even pine pitch -- just the cotton and the stick.

"No, it wouldn't work that well," I said. "Cotton burns, but it wouldn't last very long, and I don't know if it'd manage to light the stick on fire, which would be the only hope of getting a flame for any length of time."

This turned into a disagreement over whether cotton really burned decently, only to be resolved by me saying "It TOTALLY does, and we've GOT a cotton shirt you can test it on," and going upstairs to the bathroom to get one of the old cotton oxfords we use as hair-dyeing smocks.

eternaleponine got scissors, and we removed the shirt pocket, and grabbed a bamboo chopstick to be the stick, and some matches, and went outside to our concrete front walk to test it.

The bamboo chopstick didn't light very well at all. The shirt cotton lit all right, but, as I predicted, didn't stay lit very long. Wrapping the cloth around the stick didn't produce an effective torch. However, we were all greatly entertained just by the fact that we were, dammit, TESTING this. I got dubbed Jamie, because I was the one who had the scientific knowledge that Cotton Does Burn, and eternaleponine was Adam, because she was the one lighting things on fire, and the kid claimed Grant, because Tory gets stuck with the sharks.

Well, since we were Mythbusters, once we'd declared the Useful Shirt and Stick Torch "busted," it was time for the fun part -- making a more dramatic fire. "We need accelerant," our Grant said. "We don't have any accelerant," Adam responded. "Oh yes we do," said the ever-practical Jamie. "We've got booze!"

So the kid went inside and brought out the bottle of grain alcohol I keep around for making infused cordials, and also, at my suggestion, a cup of water. eternaleponine soaked the remaining shirt fabric in the alcohol, and tied it to the chopstick. When she lit THAT, it went up in a very satisfying flame.

"The only trouble now is, we don't have a CAMERA," she said.

"Oh yes we do," said the kid, and ran inside to get hers. Photos and a bit of narrated video ensued. However, the CABLE is at her dad's house, so I can't show you the picture of the Mythbusters: Narnia Flaming Torch yet.

Still.

Science!
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