The FBI Has Almost Every Gun Ever Manufactured

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The FBI Has Almost Every Gun Ever Manufactured

If you've ever watched a crime show, you've probably wondered how law enforcement was able to figure out the exact weapon used in a crime. That's easy: they probably have the same one. The FBI keeps a collection of more than 7,000 firearms spanning 80 years inside the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. The gun collection is used to compare firearms and other samples in active investigations with virtually every handgun and rifle known to man. As John Webb, a firearms examiner in the Lab's Firearms/Toolmarks Unit, tells FBI.gov: "Often, an investigator will receive a part of a firearm or a firearm that isn't functional. We can take that and compare it with our reference collection, determine what isn't functioning, and repair it so we can obtain the test fires we need to conduct examinations with bullets and cartridge cases."

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from fbi

Scientists Have Created Bomb-Detecting Super-Spinach

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Scientists Have Created Bomb-Detecting Super-Spinach

Spinach is certainly a godsend for Popeye's muscles, but that's probably the extent of its ability to help out in a fight. That is, unless it's blessed with the kind of nanotechnology MIT researchers are using. To demonstrate the possibilities of a new field called "plant nanobionics," scientists embedded the leaves of spinach plants with carbon nanotubes that are capable of detecting nitroaromatics—compounds that are often used in landmines and other explosives. The plant takes in groundwater as a natural daily function, so if those compounds are present in the water, the plant will know about it. Within 10 minutes, the carbon nanotubes will emit a fluorescent signal. Infrared cameras pick up that signal and broadcast it to a smartphone-like device, which sends an email to actual humans so they can take whatever measures are necessary.

Why Do Grenades Look Like Waffles?

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Why Do Grenades Look Like Waffles?

When a grenade with 40 bumps explodes, it's pretty much the equivalent of 40 bullets shooting out in every direction. This is in large part due to the waffle-like texture of a grenade exterior. This waffle pattern creates weak spots in the shell, so that the grenade will break apart in those grooves. If you happen to be near a grenade that's about to blow, get as far away as possible and hit the floor. Lay face down with the bottoms of your feet toward the grenade. And if you can get in a pool or body of water, your chances of avoiding injury are much greater. Due to the drag, bullets don't travel far in water.

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from Mark Rober

Key Facts to Know

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    As long as you hold the handle of a grenade down, you're safe, even if you've pulled the pin out. 1:08

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    It has been well-documents that bullets do not travel far in water at all. 2:01

This Was Humanity's Most Powerful Bomb Ever Detonated

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This Was Humanity's Most Powerful Bomb Ever Detonated

Nicknamed "Big Ivan," the Tsar Bomba was the most powerful man-made explosive device in human history. Why was it made? Basically, just for the Soviet Union to showcase their military strength. In fact, the sheer size of the bomb made it nearly impossible to put to use in real warfare. The bomb was so powerful, that the survival rate of the pilot and crew of the plane that dropped the bomb was estimated at 50%-and this was after they decreased the strength of the bomb by half. The bomb was dropped as a test on October 30, 1961.

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Key Facts to Know

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    The Tsar Bomba was the single most powerful man-made explosive device in human history. 0:01

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    The strength of the Tsar Bomba had to decreased by half in order to give the pilot and crew dropping the bomb at least a 50% chance at survival. 2:41

EMP Attacks And Setting Off Bombs In Space

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EMP Attacks And Setting Off Bombs In Space

The U.S. and Russia have both detonated nuclear weapons at high altitudes and in space before. During these tests, they realized that the explosions produced an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, that was capable of both destroying satellites and disrupting electronic communications on Earth. In 1962, the Starfish Prime test set off about 100 burglar alarms on the Hawaiian island of Oahu and shut down a telephone system in Kauai. Larger detonations could theoretically disable an entire country's electric grid.

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Key Facts to Know

  • 1

    A nuclear blast that occurs in space can set off a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse, or EMP. 0:16

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    In 1958, the USSR called for a ban on high-altitude nuclear testing, but the ban was overturned in 1961. 2:10

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    When the Starfish Prime hydrogen bomb was detonated at high altitude, it set off burglar alarms in Hawaii, which was more than 620 miles (1,000 km) away. 2:36