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Hey, Matt:

I picked up a Gatorade bottle off the street with some liquid in it. When I unscrewed the cap to dump the liquid out, it exploded. The cap blasted off with a bang, nearly dislocating my thumb in the process, and a white cloud of some unknown gas escaped from the bottle for at least five seconds. I think it was odorless. I've been told it might be carbonation, fermentation, urination - but I'm not sure those theories explain the white gas cloud. Have any idea what made this Gatorade bomb?

John, Chula Vista

The elves were dying to try this experiment, but I figure they're useless enough with a full complement of fingers. They'd all be out of jobs if they lost their thumbs. Anyway, our guess is that you picked up a dry ice bomb, some kid's idea of a joke. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide that evaporates directly into a gas when heat is applied. It doesn't go through a liquid stage the way most solids do. In a closed container, the expanding gas can create a pretty powerful weapon, one that would respond much as you described. The escaping cloud would be water vapor and CO2 released when you took the top off. Drop a chunk of dry ice in a pan of water and you create the stage fog favored by rock bands. And juvenile delinquents, too, apparently.

Bomb? Bong? You Be the Judge

We admitted it was an educated guess, that exploding Gatorade bottle answer two weeks ago. But all signs pointed to our unfortunate Alicelander having encountered a dry-ice bomb: closed plastic bottle, cap blown off with significant force, escaping cloud of odorless vapor/smoke/something. But we always leave room for dissenting voices. "Hey, Matt, you pinhead."

Heymatt:

I believe the man picked up one of my "Recyclable Gatorade BONGS." The white cloud that escaped was the uninhaled part of the last hit of my UNPATENTED invention. I just use it for a week, then go buy another, untwist the cap, and WALAAAA! A new one to use. I think the guy might have hallucinated about blowing off his thumb. (I think he just inhaled some of that escaping gas of my last hit.) All the power drink caps are the same size, so when I'm in the mood for something a little different, I get some Powerade or any of the similar. So here's to the environment and NOT to the "Gatorade Dry Ice Bomb" but the "Gatorade Herb Bong."

The Unknown Gator-bong'r

We're pretty easygoing here at the Matthew Alice Center for the Preservation of Real Old-Fashioned Baked Ham and Other Universal Truths. Everyone's welcome; nobody's a crackpot. So we print this reply simply for your consideration. Personally, I think the Herb Bong would fulfill almost none of the criteria mentioned in the original question. And I'm hard pressed to believe our questioner "hallucinated" an explosion. But at least Unknown and his bong got their two column inches of fame.

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