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back to article Latest boffinry: Feeding TNT to sheep

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. …

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Joke

They are searching for the elusive

Paddy McGinty's goat gene.

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Pint

And I thought...

http://www.wowhead.com/item=4384/explosive-sheep

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Pint

Feeding TNT to sheep

I got happy flashbacks of WarCraft 2 instead.

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Anonymous Coward

Pah, nothing new...

Anyone playing the Worms video games have been using exploding sheep for a while.

Does that mean that you can make fuses out of the wool then?

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Go

In the true El Reg style

"world's top expert on feeding sheep explosives". I'd love to have that on my business card.

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WTF?

which animal?

"Anaerobic transformation of 2,4,6-TNT by bovine ruminal microbes."

Them's cows, them bovines is.

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Coat

cows, also sheep.

"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.

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Gold badge
Coat

Sheep grazing on TNT?

Who'd be a bloody sheepdog in the 21st century, eh?

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Thumb Up

re: sheep grazing on TNT

If the TNT is stamped "Acme Corp" then a certain coyote is probably involved...

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Heart

Beats the idea of premarination

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???

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Silver badge
Grenade

Dammit

I wanna play Worms now

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Troll

That should discourage the Australians*

(from shagging them)

*insert Welsh, Scots, Zumerzet yokels or New Zealander as desired (by the sheep)

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Coat

Insert where?

OK, OK, I'm going..

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Is it just me...

...or were there a tad too many, 'shoulds' and 'coulds' in there?

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Anonymous Coward

That does not solve the biggest TNT disposal problem

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.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, but...

...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.

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Grenade

I dunno...

I'd figure the sheep would take care of that, too.

"Yep, them's mah sheep, eatin' them-there ex-plo-seeves."

[BOOM!]

"...An' sometimes steppin' on 'em. You like yer mutton well done?"

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Grenade

Awwww :(

And to think if they were explosive you could add a few of these to your average rural flock to dissuade those who take sheep love a little too literally, or at least turn it into something of an extreme danger sport ;)

hand grenade for obvious reasons.

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Joke

Worms!

Am i the only one who immediately thought of the old game Worms with its Incredible Exploding Sheep?

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neb
Grenade

strange...

...cos i thought http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/d/d7/Worms-win-cover.jpg :)

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Unhappy

Was really hoping

that this was some new seek and destroy method of targeting the Taliban or the Welsh seperatists

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Coat

So..

no supersheep then? Do we at least get bannana bombs?

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TRT
Silver badge

So when do we get...

Atomic goats?

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I read that differently

there was an extra 'e' inserted...

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Flame

What worries me...

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.

ttfn

Flame because that is what a sheep field will be resembling.

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Silver badge

"if it's not being ingested then the TNT"

It's being eaten - the TNT gets into the grass, the sheep eat the grass but then the bacteria in their gut breaks down the TNT to, presumably, safer and/or more biodegradable products. These may well be absorbed/excreted/exhaled

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Nitroreductases

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.

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Grenade

Their urine is still explosive! (and it's got nothing to do with TNT)

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.

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FAIL

"its" not "it’s".

That should be "its availability" not "it’s availability".

It's also interesting that sheep are being used, as goats are hardier and have a higher tolerance of toxins in their diet than sheep: they can eat almost anything and survive!

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Silver badge

Hot rodded

We know that sheep produce methane. What I want to know is whether the digestion products from the TNT act like a "nitro" injector into their already flammable emissions. If so, anyone fancy trying to exploit this source of alternative energy?

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Happy

Be my guest-

You can try it if you like...

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Welcome

I, for one...

...welcome our HE consuming Ovine Overlords.

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Bronze badge

Dilemma for vegetarians?

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.

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Bronze badge

Maybe it isn't the sheep that are the problem.

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.

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Silver badge
Boffin

the world of tomarrow, TODAY!

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!"

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Alien

Is it just me?

Or is Jeff Minter going to bring out a new sheep games based on this? Anyone else remember Sheep In Space?

Or am I just too old?

Answers on an exploding sheep please. Delivered to somewhere far, far away.. (Jeff Minters brain!)

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Pint

New standard required?

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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Needs more Chinese Needle Snakes

This plan is brilliant, but it will do nothing for the Chinese Needle Snakes

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Are you sure about this?

Sounds suspiciously like a Monty Python outtake to me....

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Thumb Up

y'know, I was just going to say...

...that it sounds like a bit cut out of the famous "Flying Sheep Sketch".

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Coat

And that good reason would be...

...that it'd be fun as hell.

"Alright, guys! Instant muttonburgers!"

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Pint

Politicians

Isn't the god believer, Toni Bler, a sheep? Thought so, and his wife, sister in law, political colleagues. This could be a war on TNT.

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Happy

Jeopardy answer & question

Answer: Sis-Boom-Bah

Question: What's the sound of an exploding sheep?

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Happy

I'm sorry, but...

this sounds like sheep shit to me.

G

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