And I thought...
Stateside boffins are diligently getting a small number of laboratory sheep to eat as much TNT as possible. One should point out straight away that this will not - or ought not to, anyway - involve any sheep then exploding in a sequence of fearful fleecy detonations and spattering the landscape with woolly fluff and raw mutton …
"A bovid is any of almost 140 species of cloven-hoofed mammals belonging to the family Bovidae. The family is widespread, being native to Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, and diverse: members include bison, African buffalo, water buffalo, antelopes, gazelles, sheep, goats, muskoxen, and domestic cattle."
Mine's the one made from exploding wool.
For once in a while, this idea might just work. There's plenty of other factors that make these woolly backed maggots pop their clogs, but this one seems to not be one of them. However I'd like to see the US Army deal with a load of Swaledale tups who don't want be in the same field together.
Heart - who else mentions sheep on Valentines Day???
Nobody is selling any land "contaminated" with TNT from the military any time soon. The biggest contaminant is not residue, but duff ordnance.
If land has enough TNT as a residue to pose a risk to health, it will also have more than enough unexploaded shells and other nice "presents" to prevent it from ploughing or any other form of development.
...removing the other nasties (assuming they're present in the first place - the article does mention land formerly used for explosives manufacture as well as testing) is something we seem to be pretty good at already.
The problem would be that, even after your team of EOD personnel have swept the area clean of the material contamination you'd still be left with the chemical contamination, and given how large some of these sites could be, the prospect of having to dig up and replace all the contaminated soil would make the venture somewhat unattractive to a developer.
Isn't that the sheep explode - after all the TNT doesn't appear to be ingested.
What worries me is their poo or wee (can I say poo or wee Sarah?) since if it's not being ingested then the TNT must be leaving the sheeps' bodies some other way.
All of a sudden I can see walking through a field full of sheep becoming a lot more dangerous.
And heaven help anyone that buys compost made from sheep products - there's enough nitro-cellulose in there already.
Flame because that is what a sheep field will be resembling.
It's simple biochemistry. Anaerobic bacteria can use NO2-residues as electron acceptors, transforming them into amines -NH2. Aerobic bacteria use oxygen for that purpose. Antibacterials like metronidazole (Flagyl) are reduced by a similar process and kill the bacteria in the process. I don't know whether TNT is antibacterial. Might be worth a try.
Urine, or to be more exact the soil from stables where animals had been overwintered, where the urine residue was concentrated, was an important source of saltpetre in the early modern period. Saltpetre was one of the necessary constituents of gunpowder. It was so important that one English king created a law to ensure it’s availability to the crown.
Surely, anything grown in the soil thus cleansed has to have animal products (the bacteria in their digestive tracts specifically) involved in their production, so carrots grown in this soil will be non-vegetarian vegetables?
Full disclosure: I just ate flesh. Mmm, flesh.
People have been talking about plants to concentrate soild contaminants for a long time. It's one of those Tomorrow's World gee-whiz revelations that seems to never arrive. I suspect that one of the problems is in harvesting the crop.
The sheep get around that problem.
Finding the right grass, and making sure it grows, that's hard. They're trying to bypass a lot of evolution. And somewhere such as Salisbury Plain is ecologically valuable because all the explosive stuff scattered around the landscape keeps the humans from messing around.
Actually, people are doing more then just talk about this. I know of atleast one former USAF base that is already utilizing this to clean up the soil where they used to train for fire-fighting. (I'm not sure what exactly was in the fuel they liked to spray all over the burnt-out airframes and set ablaze, but apparently it's something atleast somewhat bad). My understanding is it has been quite effective.
That said, if sheep can make it easier/better/faster/cheaper, I say, "go sheeps!"
Presumably, the old maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum was based on a sheep propelled by unaugmented methane fuelled bio-rocketry. This new TNT/Methane hybrid propulsion system requires immediate research involving fag packets, backs of envelopes and unfeasibly large amounts of beer to confirm that the standard remains constant.
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