ACE - Master
Posts: 4,461
Registered: ‎09-14-2009
My Device: U-verse - Motorola "Atrix" HD
Re: Weekly Off-Topic Thread #231
[ Edited ]

Carbide (in the version called methanide) is a carbon compound that reacts with water to produce methane gas.  Many years ago it was used extensively in "carbide" lamps which mounted on the hats of miners and in headlights on the very early automobiles.  In more recent times I used to see fisherman using them for night fishing.  My father used to tell me how he and his friends used to put some carbide on the sidewalk.....put a drop or two of water on it.....set a tin can on top (with a little hole punched in the side) and then with a stick of punk mounted on the end of a long pole they would set off the collected methane by putting the punk up to that little hole.  He said the cans would shoot 30 to 40 feet in the air.  That would have been back around 1920 or so.  I wouldn't know where to go to get any carbide these days.

On one notable occasion....just as the space shuttle was about to lift U.S. astronaut turned to the one in the seat next to him and commented, "And just're sitting on top of $100 million worth of parts manufactured by the lowest bidder." A real confidence builder, eh?
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