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Hear, hear!

Eddie Mair | 10:24 UK time, Thursday, 5 July 2007

From the listener log:

TX Date: 04/07/07
"This evening the programme had a gas expert on who was talking about gas cannisters having pressure relief valves which prevent them from blowing up. I feel that this kind of reporting may be giving potential terrorists ideas on explosive devices they could use."

I mean - how could we be so STUPID. Now someone could try to make a bomb!


  1. At 10:46 AM on 05 Jul 2007, witchiwoman wrote:

    Gas canisters have valves - surely not!! I despair sometimes.

  2. At 10:59 AM on 05 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Exercise for froggers:

    I can think off-hand of five ways to place the emphasis on the words "they could try".

    Are there more, and which best sums up *your* reaction? Mine is probably "They could *try*!", but "*They* could *try*" is also tempting.

  3. At 11:02 AM on 05 Jul 2007, ian wrote:

    Whatever you do, don't mention the Nobel Prize then.

  4. At 11:04 AM on 05 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    How stupid indeed! ;-)

    The pressure relief valve does just what it says: It relieves the pressure, making it impossible for the cylinder to EXPLODE. It thus makes for a rapid release of gas, which, of course, feeds any existing fire.

    I fail to see how such information would help anyone wishing to make anything explode. Of course, if an incendiary device is desired, all that is needed is to open the valve and light the gas.

    And besides, most folk who might wish to make a bomb already know such things or could easily learn all they need to know without consulting a sedate source like Radio 4.


  5. At 11:28 AM on 05 Jul 2007, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:


    Bob T. Terrorist: "Mwahahah! At last! We have built a bomb that will destroy the centre of London. Let us deploy it immediately!"
    Fred T. Terrorist: "Bob, wait! I have been reading a Blog on the BBC website. It says we need some kind of explosive to make a bomb explode!"
    Bob: "Is cheese not explosive then? Curses! We have been foiled again! ... Fancy a cheese sandwich?"
    Fred: "What, loaded with all that salt? Do I look like I want to commit suicide?"

  6. At 11:39 AM on 05 Jul 2007, John Wilson wrote:

    They do this sort of thing properly in the USA:


    "You will experience a hands-on learning environment with explosives: the first and only camp of its kind! The course will comprise a variety of lectures, demonstrations, handling & shooting of explosives, field trips, projects and culminate in the setup and shooting of a fireworks display. You will have a behind-the-scenes look at how explosives are used in industry and in entertainment, but the number one thing you will do is have fun!"

    The course is run by a Brit, I believe.

  7. At 12:10 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    TSSC @ 5


    Thank you, I needed that. Better even than a burst on me old banjo.

  8. At 12:47 PM on 05 Jul 2007, admin annie wrote:

    we were talking recently about the BBC pronounciation unit. I've been watching some tennis this morning and wonder if sports commnentators are allowed not to use it. There was a girl playing this morning called Kuznetsova, which is pronounced with the stress as follows;


    The commentators seem to think that its KooznetsOVAH.

    It's not.

  9. At 12:55 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Roberto Carlos Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR wrote:

    Gas explosions? This reminds me of a You Tube Programme in which Bush exploded gas but of the type called flatulence.

  10. At 01:05 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Erm, excuse me, Eddie - Isn't it time to change the Alan Johnston banner for one celebrating his release?

  11. At 01:16 PM on 05 Jul 2007, jonnie (from Sunny Bournemouth) wrote:

    Re: admin annie :- There was a programme on Radio 4 or 5 live all about this - however here is a place you can read all about it - and leave a comment. I see our own Bedd Gelert has already had a moan about Natasha Kaplinsky and Nick Robinson to agree on the correct pronunciation of Quentin Davies.

    Here is that link :-


  12. At 01:17 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    There are far more common things than gas cylinders that do explode. As was pinted out the cylinder won't explode but obviously the gas coming out wil burn

    see this. I use this very common ingredient every day.


  13. At 01:37 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Chris Hazell wrote:

    I understand that the people of Hull are asking for taxpayer's money to help pay for the damage caused by recent flooding.

    I live close to a river in Cornwall and have suffered serious flood damage in the past. My excellent insurance company covered all damages, and are still prepared to insure the property.

    Why should my taxes be used to cover damages for people who have not bothered to take out house and contents insurance?

  14. At 02:07 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Ah, but anyone who has ever watched Macgyver knows that a gas cylinder can be used as a projectile weapon by knocking the valve off with a spanner....

  15. At 02:20 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Chris H.;
    Hear, hear!

    It seems to be increasingly the reaction of people to expect the state to provide for things which they should have done themselves. I've some sympathy for the human plight, tempered by their lack of forethought in taking out insurance to cover any such misfortune.

    If the Govt. helps out (nearly said 'Bails out'. Whoops!) businesses that have suffered, does that constitute illegal state aid, banned under EU anti-competitiveness rules?


  16. At 02:23 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    SSCat (5) and Roberto (9) Tee hee!

    Annie (8) and Stewart (11) Thank you for that information.

    Chris (12) I wouldn't have put it quite like that, but, on the whole, yes -- why do some of us take out insurance if those who don't (for whatever reason -- it might not always be "can't-be-bothered-itus") are compensated from taxation anyway? It does seem rather unfair. But then, life is unfair isn't it? I think I'm talking myself into a circle so I'll stop.

  17. At 02:25 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Chris Hazell (12) some of those affected may not be improvident, but just poor. Imagine you live in rented accommodation which is flooded - you become homeless and may be without possessions destroyed in the flood. Would you not hope that someone would come to your aid? The same situation pertained in New Orleans where many residents faced the choice between food, medical treatment and insurance. Not difficult to see why many end up uninsured.

    Ultimately however as a country we are going to have to make choices about whether to spend money on flood defences or on moving populations away from flood danger.

  18. At 02:43 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Chris Hazell @ 12 asked 'Why should my taxes be used to cover damages for people who have not bothered to take out house and contents insurance?'

    As I have understood it from coverage of this matter on PM and elsewhere, it may be not so much 'have not bothered' as 'have been unable'. I heard an interview for instance with someone who is himself on low income and caring for a disabled relative, who simply could not afford to take out insurance at the rates being asked; another was with a young couple who having moved into the only house they could afford to buy, discovered that the reason it was cheap was that it was uninsurable because it had been flooded on a previous occasion. A pensioner whose insurance premiums had risen beyond what she could afford on her fixed income was also heard at one point bewailing the loss of all her possessions (which were irreplaceable to her even if they had been insured: how does one replace a wedding-photo of a dead husband?) There may be reasons other than stupidity or parsimony for the present plight of those whose insurance is not adequate.

    There is also the fact that repairing a flood-damaged house may take several weeks or months, and processing so many claims all at once will take time, and the victims of this flooding need help *right now*.

    As a taxpayer, I can think of plenty of worse things for my money to be spent on than helping the victims of a natural disaster. In fact I have a list of things it does get spent on that I would rather it wasn't.

  19. At 03:00 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Stewart M wrote:

    Chris (12) the worrying thing is that 1 in 4 are not insured. Not beacause they can't get insurance but probably becasue of poverty. Also folk who rent don't always take out contents insurance. But if poeple are made homeless money wil haveto be spent re housing them. remember new orleans

  20. At 03:02 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Karen wrote:

    BBC Focus Magazine this month tells you how to make and fire a potato bazooka with items you can buy from a DIY store. To have given those details out last night would have been irresponsible. Fun, but irresponsible...

  21. At 03:04 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Okay, I'll ask again.

    Eddie - Isn't it time to change the Alan Johnston banner for one celebrating his release?

  22. At 03:29 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Electric Dragon wrote:

    FF@13 - and anyone who has played Half Life 2 knows that gas cylinders are very useful for dealing with extra dimensional zombies. Particularly if one has a gravity gun to hand to throw the cylinders long distances with.

  23. At 05:02 PM on 05 Jul 2007, caryg wrote:

    To Stewart @ 11

    The BBC are very aware of the explosive properties of flour. I have seen a picture of a recording session that went very wrong resulting in a number of injuries.

    It was a recording of a comedy program that required a piano to explode (don't ask why) and it was decided to add some flour to create more "smoke". Unfortunately the mechanical works designed to "explode" the piano and blow the cloud of "smoke" into the air created just the right mixture for the thunderflash that was providing the bang to detonate the airborne powder resulting in a much larger bang than was expected and bits of piano flying further and faster than requried. Who says comedy isn't dangerous?

    I saw this picture in one of the late B D Shaw's chemistry lectures on "Rapid Oxidation Reactions" which resulted in the audience going home partly deaf and a lot more wary of some very ordinary chemicals.

  24. At 05:04 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Stewart M wrote:


    I still enjoy Duke Nukem 3D and remember the original shareware duke nukem. Not that I get the chance to play it much.

  25. At 05:56 PM on 05 Jul 2007, tomi wrote:

    Re gas cylinders. Even with a pressure release valve, cylinders may still explode if the surrounding temperature rises so rapidly that the expanding gas inside the container cannot escape quickly enough. Explosions may also happen when the hot gas/air mixture reaches the critical composition (and temperature). We often hear of explosions when fires occur in industrial premises where gas cylinders are stored.
    Re pronunciation. Never mind foreign names. As a Scotsman, I have a number of friends called Liddell and Lamont who place the emphasis firmly on the first syllable. What about "controversy" and "hospitable". On a different tack, I recently heard Martha Kearney on The World at One say "homogenous" with four syllables instead of homogeneous which has five.

  26. At 10:23 PM on 05 Jul 2007, Jason Good wrote:

    I was once busy working in an office that was about to have it's Christmas party. A keg of beer had been delivered and it was "settling".

    Out of nowhere the valve on the top shot off the top and embedded itself in the ceiling whilst all the gas inside the keg took the chance and ran away. The keg observed the laws of gases and instantly froze (expanding gases cause temperature drop) and was covered by a quarter inch of frost all over...

    So perhaps the gas canisters would be able to put themselves out.

    No, not for collection. That would be just silly.

  27. At 11:04 AM on 06 Jul 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    "The keg observed the laws of gases and instantly froze (expanding gases cause temperature drop) and was covered by a quarter inch of frost all over..."

    I was once firing a small glass furnace off a single propane tank, and of course I had chosen a cold period for the experiment.

    The heavy draw-down caused a ring of ice to form around the tank and the pressure dropped to the point where the burner wasn't giving the heat needed, so I found myself outdoors with a large blowtorch fuelled by another propane tank, playing the flames on the cold tank and its ice collar to warm it up.

    I had in my head a vision/image of a fire prevention official coming upon the scene.....

    it worked, though.


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