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#1
Old 12-13-2013, 12:06 AM
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What You Get When You Pour Molten Aluminum Into An Ant Hill

Fascinating video of what happens when you pour molten aluminum into a fire ant mound.
#2
Old 12-13-2013, 12:19 AM
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There was an article on this sort of thing back in the 80's or 90's in Scientific American or Smithsonian magazine, don't really remember which or when. They used zinc in the field since it has a lower melting point.
#3
Old 12-13-2013, 12:21 AM
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Wow. That seems epically and needlessly cruel to me.
#4
Old 12-13-2013, 12:37 AM
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It is for sale on ebay - 85 bids, $4200, 20 hours left

http://ebay.com/itm/251400985690...84.m1438.l2649

Last edited by usedtobe; 12-13-2013 at 12:37 AM.
#5
Old 12-13-2013, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
Wow. That seems epically and needlessly cruel to me.
Not really. Ants are mindless, organic automatons; you couldn't be cruel to them if you tried.
#6
Old 12-13-2013, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
Wow. That seems epically and needlessly cruel to me.
I thought so too originally. But after watching it, I thought it was very ....... informative regarding the ant colony. And anyway, ants aren't on any endangered list I know of, and they'll invade your home if they see fit. So, fuck 'em.

Last edited by Leaffan; 12-13-2013 at 12:44 AM.
#7
Old 12-13-2013, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
Wow. That seems epically and needlessly cruel to me.
Fire ants are an invasive species with absolutely devastating stings. The moral distance between using heat or neurotoxins seems slim. If anything molten metal is probably less ecologically problematic than using chemicals.

http://fireant.tamu.edu/controlmethods/

Last edited by astro; 12-13-2013 at 12:45 AM.
#8
Old 12-13-2013, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
Fire ants are an invasive species with absolutely devastating stings. The moral distance between using heat or neurotoxins seems slim. If anything molten metal is probably less ecologically problematic than using chemicals.

http://fireant.tamu.edu/controlmethods/
Or you could just nuke them from orbit.
#9
Old 12-13-2013, 01:06 AM
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If only Al would melt at a reasonable temperature, I could see turning fire ant extermination into a cottage industry.

Earn big ucks while helping destroy a pest species! Work at home! A boon for the elderly!

I wonder how much 20 lbs of Al costs...

Luckily, no fire ants where I am.

Wold there be something analogous for Africanized Bees? Maybe a glue dispenser at the entrance - as they enter, the bee gets coated with glue, and as soon as they bump into another bee, they fuse
#10
Old 12-13-2013, 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
Wow. That seems epically and needlessly cruel to me.
I expect death by liquid hot metal for something the mass of an ant would be quite swift, compared to a larger creature. And, perhaps, swifter than the kinds of regular slaughter the little blighters face daily. Being eaten alive by large mammals, torn apart by other ant species and other insects. Brain taken over by parasitic fungi which consumes it alive and from the inside.

Fiery genocide from above may be preferable, by comparison.
#11
Old 12-13-2013, 01:33 AM
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something a little bit bigger - http://youtube.com/watch?v=Z-gIx7LXcQM

relevant parts starts around the 46th minute.
#12
Old 12-13-2013, 02:11 AM
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I too feel a bit uncomfortable with this. I know that fire ants are invasives who cause a lot of trouble, but pouring molten metal on any living creature does seem inhumane to me. It's similar to how it seems cruel to pull legs off flies even though many people kill them outright.
There are reasons to think that insects do indeed suffer and have some kind of primitive consciousness.
I certainly realize sometimes killing insects is unavoidable, but we should try to be aware of doing it as humanely as possible I think.
#13
Old 12-13-2013, 02:15 AM
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What You Get When You Pour Molten Aluminum Into An Ant Hill

Pink Panther: "Dead ant, dead ant. Dead ant. Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant, dead ant, dead ant. Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant."

Last edited by cochrane; 12-13-2013 at 02:17 AM.
#14
Old 12-13-2013, 02:29 AM
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Instant death by molten metal is probably about the most humane way to kill them, short of nuking them from space.
#15
Old 12-13-2013, 03:19 AM
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Yeah, that's got to be a pretty instantaneous death - faster than most poisons, I'd imagine.

Also, they're fucking vermin. So there's that angle.
#16
Old 12-13-2013, 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Miller View Post
Also, they're fucking vermin. So there's that angle.
That is a very anthropocentric point of view if you ask me.

Last edited by Floater; 12-13-2013 at 03:56 AM.
#17
Old 12-13-2013, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by shijinn View Post
something a little bit bigger - http://youtube.com/watch?v=Z-gIx7LXcQM

relevant parts starts around the 46th minute.
I have this strange image of those ants sneaking the dirt up to the surface hidden inside their trouser legs and spreading it around so the guards don't catch on.
#18
Old 12-13-2013, 04:15 AM
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There's something fishy about that video. The first scene showed him pouring molten metal into the mouth of a man-made mound, not an ant mound. See the grooves on one side made by human fingers?

The next scene showed him digging up the cast. Note that that top was flat still with grass on it. It definitely was not the cast made in the first scene. If he poured it into a volcanic "neck" then the cast should have a bottom "stem."

But then again, the idea isn't so far fetched. Maybe he made a collage purely for demonstration.
#19
Old 12-13-2013, 04:35 AM
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Tschinkel aluminum ant mound casting. The article says the molten aluminum vaporizes the ants, so at least it's fast.
#20
Old 12-13-2013, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Floater View Post
That is a very anthropocentric point of view if you ask me.
And the concern that killing them with liquid metal is somehow cruel seems like a very anthropomorphic point of view if you ask me.
#21
Old 12-13-2013, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
I thought so too originally. But after watching it, I thought it was very ....... informative regarding the ant colony. And anyway, ants aren't on any endangered list I know of, and they'll invade your home if they see fit. So, fuck 'em.
QFT. These aren't just any old ants that invade your home. These are fire ants! They invade your home and burn it to the ground, at night, you and your family included. It is desired to endanger them to the maximal degree (Fahrenheit or Centigrade) possible.

BTW, I can't actually watch the video on my mochine -- it doesn't do video. Can someone give me the tl;dr summary of what happens when you pour molten aluminum on a fire ant hill?

Last edited by Senegoid; 12-13-2013 at 06:34 AM.
#22
Old 12-13-2013, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by the_diego View Post
There's something fishy about that video. The first scene showed him pouring molten metal into the mouth of a man-made mound, not an ant mound. See the grooves on one side made by human fingers?

The next scene showed him digging up the cast. Note that that top was flat still with grass on it. It definitely was not the cast made in the first scene. If he poured it into a volcanic "neck" then the cast should have a bottom "stem."

But then again, the idea isn't so far fetched. Maybe he made a collage purely for demonstration.
It looks to me like they covered the original, smaller anthill with a sand mound, possibly to facilitate pouring in the metal.
#23
Old 12-13-2013, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia View Post
Wow. That seems epically and needlessly cruel to me.
Probably less cruel than the various poisons that one could use. The super-high temperature of the metal and the tiny length scale of the ant means that molten metal will destroy their brain (and therefore any ability to suffer) within a fraction of a second when it gets anywhere near them. This is a far different proposition than throwing something the size of a human being into a lake of lava, where it will take a prolonged period of time before unconsciousness sets in.
#24
Old 12-13-2013, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Can someone give me the tl;dr summary of what happens when you pour molten aluminum on a fire ant hill?
You get a casting of the ant colony, with all its intricate tunnels and such. It's a work or art really.
#25
Old 12-13-2013, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
You get a casting of the ant colony, with all its intricate tunnels and such. It's a work or art really.
More of a work of ant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller View Post
Also, they're fucking vermin. So there's that angle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floater View Post
That is a very anthropocentric point of view if you ask me.
It's less an anthropocentric POV than an 'every species in the area except the fire-ants'-centric POV.
#26
Old 12-13-2013, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by lavenderviolet View Post
I too feel a bit uncomfortable with this. I know that fire ants are invasives who cause a lot of trouble, but pouring molten metal on any living creature does seem inhumane to me. It's similar to how it seems cruel to pull legs off flies even though many people kill them outright.
There are reasons to think that insects do indeed suffer and have some kind of primitive consciousness.
I certainly realize sometimes killing insects is unavoidable, but we should try to be aware of doing it as humanely as possible I think.
Spoken like someone who has never seen their three year old child step barefoot into a fire ant mound. Molten aluminum isn't cruel enough for those fuckers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_diego View Post
There's something fishy about that video. The first scene showed him pouring molten metal into the mouth of a man-made mound, not an ant mound. See the grooves on one side made by human fingers?

The next scene showed him digging up the cast. Note that that top was flat still with grass on it. It definitely was not the cast made in the first scene. If he poured it into a volcanic "neck" then the cast should have a bottom "stem."

But then again, the idea isn't so far fetched. Maybe he made a collage purely for demonstration.
The caster had made a cone of sand on top of the fire ant mound to funnel the liquid into the mound. Otherwise, the aluminum would have spread all over the ground, and not into the mound.
#27
Old 12-13-2013, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lavenderviolet
I too feel a bit uncomfortable with this. I know that fire ants are invasives who cause a lot of trouble, but pouring molten metal on any living creature does seem inhumane to me. It's similar to how it seems cruel to pull legs off flies even though many people kill them outright.
How do you feel about stepping on them? Or poisoning them?

As well-mentioned, we're talking about fire ants. If you've never been bitten by one or a hundred of them, you just don't understand how horrible they are. People have died from being bitten by fire ants. Death by instant vaporization seems much more humane than death by anaphylaxis.
#28
Old 12-13-2013, 09:47 AM
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When I watch that I hear the Pink Panther theme song in my head.

SPOILER:
Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant dead ant dead ant dead annnnnnnnt
#29
Old 12-13-2013, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
When I watch that I hear the Pink Panther theme song in my head.

SPOILER:
Dead ant, dead ant, dead ant dead ant dead ant dead annnnnnnnt
What a coincidence. So did cochrane in post 13.
#30
Old 12-13-2013, 10:11 AM
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you gain a level.
#31
Old 12-13-2013, 10:29 AM
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Holy crap, those colony casts are really cool. And terrifying. I didn't know ants went that far underground!
#32
Old 12-13-2013, 10:31 AM
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I'm impressed that they can construct such intricate structures. What surprises me is that these small rooms with little vertical soil ceilings between them can stand up. Not sure if they add any sticky secretions to keep the soil particles together or that they have to live in soil mixtures with at least some cohesive component. I suspect they could not recreate such a feat if they were placed in a perfectly granular soil such as a sand dune.
#33
Old 12-13-2013, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Rachellelogram View Post
Holy crap, those colony casts are really cool. And terrifying. I didn't know ants went that far underground!
I was actually surprised how SHALLOW that particular colony was.
#34
Old 12-13-2013, 11:05 AM
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It may have have been a young colony. Maybe it would be bigger if they waited a year or two.
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#35
Old 12-13-2013, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Morgyn View Post
Tschinkel aluminum ant mound casting. The article says the molten aluminum vaporizes the ants, so at least it's fast.
The ones pictured on that link are really cool. Scaled up to human size those are huge. They can be up to 12ft deep, which is about 300 times the body length of a half-inch ant. That's on a par with humans building the CN Tower.
#36
Old 12-13-2013, 11:25 AM
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It's a lot like a modern apartment complex. All these corridors and rooms where the ants live and store food.

I noticed they didn't show how the guy positioned the hole for the liquid aluminum. It must be tricky finding and digging into the main entrance of the colony. I guess thats a trade secret. He's making a lot of money for these sculptures.

Last edited by aceplace57; 12-13-2013 at 11:26 AM.
#37
Old 12-13-2013, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
The ones pictured on that link are really cool. Scaled up to human size those are huge. They can be up to 12ft deep, which is about 300 times the body length of a half-inch ant. That's on a par with humans building the CN Tower.
Upside down.
#38
Old 12-13-2013, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by shijinn View Post
something a little bit bigger - http://youtube.com/watch?v=Z-gIx7LXcQM

relevant parts starts around the 46th minute.
I may have seen this; I'm not going to watch it right now. Is this the program where some scientists filled an ant mound with cement, and had to use a whole truckfull before they were done, and it was 20 or 30 feet deep? That was cool.
#39
Old 12-13-2013, 01:03 PM
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Yup. 10 tons of concrete.
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#40
Old 12-13-2013, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
If only Al would melt at a reasonable temperature, I could see turning fire ant extermination into a cottage industry.

Earn big ucks while helping destroy a pest species! Work at home! A boon for the elderly!

I wonder how much 20 lbs of Al costs...

Luckily, no fire ants where I am.

Wold there be something analogous for Africanized Bees? Maybe a glue dispenser at the entrance - as they enter, the bee gets coated with glue, and as soon as they bump into another bee, they fuse

The current price of Aluminum on the London Metal Exchange is about 80 cents per pound.

I used to work in a Aluminum Smelter and we sold Aluminum as hot molten metal and trucked it to customers.
#41
Old 12-13-2013, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
Fascinating video of what happens when you pour molten aluminum into a fire ant mound.
I absolutely have to get me one of those!!

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Originally Posted by usedtobe View Post
It is for sale on ebay - 85 bids, $4200, 20 hours left
I can absolutely live without one of those!!
#42
Old 12-13-2013, 02:27 PM
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Kind of looked like The Umbrella corporation's underground facility. (From Resident Evil)
#43
Old 12-13-2013, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by notfrommensa View Post
The current price of Aluminum on the London Metal Exchange is about 80 cents per pound.

I used to work in a Aluminum Smelter and we sold Aluminum as hot molten metal and trucked it to customers.
Seriously? It (a) stayed molten in the truck while being transported and (b) wasn't an unbelievable hazard to have on the highway?

Last edited by muldoonthief; 12-13-2013 at 02:32 PM.
#44
Old 12-13-2013, 02:34 PM
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Or you could just nuke them from orbit.
Concidering the microscopic view point of the ant, that was nuking them from orbit
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#45
Old 12-13-2013, 02:43 PM
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I can't seem to understand why the majority of people have no moral or ethical obligations to this. Vermin or not, they're living creatures. They don't have a right to live and exist because we say so?

Last edited by Agent Foxtrot; 12-13-2013 at 02:44 PM.
#46
Old 12-13-2013, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
I can't seem to understand why the majority of people have no moral or ethical obligations to this. Vermin or not, they're living creatures. They don't have a right to live and exist because we say so?
Some of us believe that the ant isn't able to understand suffering or cruelty. It would be akin to harvesting wheat, or turning off a computer.

Entomologists, correct us if we're wrong.
#47
Old 12-13-2013, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
I can't seem to understand why the majority of people have no moral or ethical obligations to this. Vermin or not, they're living creatures. They don't have a right to live and exist because we say so?
I had a chicken sandwich for lunch, which means that everyone in the supply chain (me included) decided that the chicken didn't have a right to live. I was hungry, so I paid (albeit indirectly) to have a chicken killed for my lunch.

If I'm OK with killing innocent chickens for lunch, why would you be surprised that I'm not bothered by someone killing pestilent ants, and making art in the process?

Are you disturbed by the manner of their death (contact with molten metal), or merely the fact that they're being killed? Do you tend to stare in horror as your neighbor saturates a yellowjacket nest with permethrin, leaving its residents writhing uncontrollably on the ground?

Last edited by Machine Elf; 12-13-2013 at 02:54 PM.
#48
Old 12-13-2013, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
I can't seem to understand why the majority of people have no moral or ethical obligations to this. Vermin or not, they're living creatures. They don't have a right to live and exist because we say so?
I was uncomfortable with it until I learned that they were fire ants. You don't want those things anywhere near your property.
#49
Old 12-13-2013, 02:54 PM
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Surprising amount of Antropocentric viewpoints in this thread!
#50
Old 12-13-2013, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
I can't seem to understand why the majority of people have no moral or ethical obligations to this. Vermin or not, they're living creatures. They don't have a right to live and exist because we say so?
Yes. It's one of the perks of being at the top of the food chain. Also, since morality is a concept made up completely by us, it seems only logical that we get to decide whether or not such creatures should have the privilege of existing alongside us humans.


ETA: After posting this, I went to look up anthropocentric, as I'm not familiar with this word. Considering the above post, that's pretty damn funny.

Last edited by Grrr!; 12-13-2013 at 03:07 PM.
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