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The science of the very baddest of booms

Ågesta One of the most useful techniques which one can acquire in the course of studying to be a mad scientist is How to set off a chain reaction. It is economical, scalable, generalizable, and most of all, elegant. The idea that one can imbue some material with enough energy throughout so that by setting a small part of it off is enough to spread through the entire mass appeals strongly to the biological notion of contagion, where the foul, vile flesh tends inevitably toward utter corruption once a pathogen has insinuated itself in any part of it, unlike the hard, inviolable, gleaming perfection characteristic of engineered materials. It is a commonplace fallacy to associate the notion of a chain reaction solely with explosives even though the phenomenon of autocatalysis may be exploited in many activities a malefactor may undertake such as the creation of a global nanotechnological infestation, the phase transition transforming all liquid water into Ice-9, or even a cybernetic revolt mediated by machine-machine coordination.


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