Watch the MythBusters Implode a Steel Railroad Tanker

Watching things explode in slow motion is often satisfying, but it’s not always the post-explosion carnage that's the most impressive. Armed with the largest prop in the history of their recorded experiments, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of MythBusters traveled to Boardman, Oregon to see if it would be possible for a full-sized tanker car to crush itself.

The myth in question, according to Savage, involved a tanker that had been freshly steam cleaned, sealed, and left alone on the tracks, only to suddenly crumble like a soda can. To see if this could actually happen, the team acquired a 30,000 gallon capacity tanker that measured 67 feet long with a 10-foot diameter and weighed 67,000 pounds. After conducting smaller experiments in the lab with steel drums and models of the real thing, they designed a full-sized experiment.

A video segment explains that, if the myth was plausible, it would be caused by a difference in internal and external pressure:

Filling the container with steam pushes out the air. But if the vessel is sealed while it’s still hot and then allowed to cool, the steam condenses and the internal pressure drops, meaning the now greater external pressure pushes in on the surface.

For the grand experiment, the MythBusters duo got a massive steamer to fill the tanker, then sealed it and waited. The experiment ended in a bust, but after simulating “corrosion that a negligent train yard might not catch,” they got the result that they and the fans had hoped for.

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To see the full video, head over to Discovery, and watch the Tanker Crush Aftershow on YouTube for more behind-the-scenes information.

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[h/t: YouTube]

26 Facts About LEGO Bricks

Since it first added plastic, interlocking bricks to its lineup, the Danish toy company LEGO (from the words Leg Godt for “play well”) has inspired builders of all ages to bring their most imaginative designs to life. Sets have ranged in size from scenes that can be assembled in a few minutes to 5000-piece behemoths depicting famous landmarks. And tinkerers aren’t limited to the sets they find in stores. One of the largest LEGO creations was a life-sized home in the UK that required 3.2 million tiny bricks to construct.

In this episode of the List Show, John Green lays out 26 playful facts about one of the world’s most beloved toy brands. To hear about the LEGO black market, the vault containing every LEGO set ever released, and more, check out the video above then subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with the latest flossy content.

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Of Buckeyes and Butternuts: 29 States With Weird Nicknames for Their Residents
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Tracing a word’s origin and evolution can yield fascinating historical insights—and the weird nicknames used in some states to describe their residents are no exception. In the Mental Floss video above, host John Green explains the probable etymologies of 29 monikers that describe inhabitants of certain states across the country.

Some of these nicknames, like “Hoosiers” and “Arkies” (which denote residents of Indiana and Arkansas, respectively) may have slightly offensive connotations, while others—including "Buckeyes," "Jayhawks," "Butternuts," and "Tar Heels"—evoke the military histories of Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And a few, like “Muskrats” and “Sourdoughs,” are even inspired by early foods eaten in Delaware and Alaska. ("Goober-grabber" sounds goofier, but it at least refers to peanuts, which are a common crop in Georgia, as well as North Carolina and Arkansas.)

Learn more fascinating facts about states' nicknames for their residents by watching the video above.


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