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Jon the Geek
07-10-2003, 07:43 PM
In BlueMit11's "Ninja-Covert-Like" thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=196467), Tarantula mentioned (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) that real ninjas always carry a stick of butter.

So, I was wondering: Would it be possible to kill someone with a stick of butter (used as a weapon--I don't want to see any atherosclerosis jokes here). If so, how fast would it have to be thrown/swung/whatever to do damage? Would it melt during transit or impact from the energy being exerted on it?

I'm sure there was a time when I could figure this out, but I've forgotten way too much physics. :)

Gunslinger
07-10-2003, 07:59 PM
Well, you could smear it on the floor so they slip and break their neck. I doubt butter would be a very good stabbing/bludgeoning weapon though. A nice big hunk of cheese, however...

Jon the Geek
07-10-2003, 08:11 PM
I'm not asking if it would make a good stabbing/bludgeoning weapon, I'm just wondering how fast it'd have to be moving to do damage (it seems like at SOME velocity it would hurt to get hit by a stick of butter, although it seems like it'd have to be moving REALLY fast).

I'm just not sure what sort of calculations are necessary to figure that out...

Jon the Geek
07-10-2003, 08:16 PM
In case it helps, according to my tub of Country Crock, 1 tbsp = 14 g. A stick of butter is 8 tbsp, so that means a stick of butter has a mass of 112 g.

I'm afraid you'd also need some sort of compressibility factor or something, though... but hopefully someone will know how to calculate something rough here...

jnglmassiv
07-10-2003, 09:04 PM
One possibility:
Super-chilled butter shiv!!

Basically, carve the stick of butter into a blade shape and super-chill it. I'm not talking throwing it in the freezer for a while; more like a liquid nitrogen immersion. Then, when you victim approaches, insulate your hand, grab your butter knife and do the deed. I wouldn't count on any cutting blade holding its edge so a few stabs might do the trick.

Imagine the pathologist at your murder trial telling this "far fetched " story on the murder weapon. Might be enough to deadlock a jury?

Ahh, Straight Inspired!

Panzerfaust
07-10-2003, 10:01 PM
Hrm. Based on jnglmassiv's idea for a butter knife, one could also make "butterchucks". When two sticks of butter are soft, put a chain or bit of shoelace or something between them, super-chill, wear some insulated gloves, and presto! Butterchucks!

Jayrot
07-10-2003, 10:10 PM
Step 1: Super-chill stick of butter
Step 2: Install frozen butter as sabot in cannon round.
Step 3: Load in military tank.
Step 4: Shoot at enemy's car.

Result: Butter of Mass Distruction.

Zenster
07-11-2003, 12:26 AM
Take an ordinary stick of refrigerated butter and (after squeezing the air out of their lungs) lodge it firmly in a persons windpipe. There is the remote chance you might be able to suffocate them that way.

Anemic Falstaff
07-11-2003, 01:25 AM
Hrm. This is an intriguing question.

I think the way to go is dropping it off from a high distance (say, an airplane) over a populated area. I'm not sure how fast it would be going on the way down, but it would have to be pretty damn fast... even with a light mass, that could do some damage.

scr4
07-11-2003, 01:27 AM
A 9-mm bullet weighs about 8 grams and has a muzzle velocity of about 130 m/s, for a kinetic energy of 67 Joules. To achieve the same kinetic energy, a 112-gram stick of butter must be thrown at about 35 m/s (125 km/h). A professional baseball pitcher can do it.

Although I'm not sure if a 9-mm bullet can kill someone with hydrostatic shock alone. Maybe someone can think of a better comparison?

BraheSilver
07-11-2003, 01:44 AM
Begin by hiding in the shadows behind your target. Break your stick of butter in half, and keep half in each hand. The butter should be slightly less than room temperature: not warm enough to melt in your hand, but enough to get soft if pressure is exerted.

Sneak up behind the victim. Deftly reach around and cram one half of the stick into and up the victim's nose. If you did it right, the victim will gasp in surprise, drawing butter into his lungs and incapacitating him with buttery coughing.

Then kick the victim's legs out from under him and kneel on his solar plexus. Cram the other half of the stick into the victim's mouth, and, per Zenster's suggestion, he'll suffocate in butter.

The best part is that the butter will melt, destroying your fingerprints.

hajario
07-11-2003, 01:46 AM
Originally posted by scr4
A 9-mm bullet weighs about 8 grams and has a muzzle velocity of about 130 m/s, for a kinetic energy of 67 Joules. To achieve the same kinetic energy, a 112-gram stick of butter must be thrown at about 35 m/s (125 km/h). A professional baseball pitcher can do it.

Although I'm not sure if a 9-mm bullet can kill someone with hydrostatic shock alone. Maybe someone can think of a better comparison?

Metal is way more dense than butter. The bullet will go through you, the butter will deform when it hits.

If you really want to kill someone with butter, leave it outside until it becomes rancid and then melt it into a fondue and feed it to the victim.

Haj

Tikki
07-11-2003, 02:05 AM
Melt the butter enough to stuff it into a 2 foot long piece of hose. Bend the hose into a narrow loop and freeze. Remove and whack your victim with it. Should leave a nasty lump at least.

Fear Itself
07-11-2003, 02:14 AM
Freeze two sticks of butter and drop 'em into a gym sock. Makes a dandy blackjack.

hajario
07-11-2003, 02:16 AM
Originally posted by Fear Itself
Freeze two sticks of butter and drop 'em into a gym sock. Makes a dandy blackjack.

Anyone can kill someone with two sticks of butter. The OP asked for ways of killing someone with one stick of butter.

Haj

Tarantula
07-11-2003, 02:42 AM
The test of the "Ninja Way" is to kill someone with just the one stick of butter.

Be impressed with my sneaky trick -

1 - Get Butter
2 - Butter soles of victims feet while asleep
3 - Split remaining butter in two
3 - Pour Liquid Nitrogen over one half and hit with hammer to produce razor-like shards of creamy death, which are then scatterd on the floor around the victim
3 - Wake victim by melting remaining butter and pouring into ear (the victims ear, obviously)
4 - When victim jumps up with singed-ear trauma, he will slip and impail himself on the butter-shards...

Et Voila - greasy Ninja death, for greasy Ninja foe...

Mangetout
07-11-2003, 02:58 AM
Here in the Kingdom of Butter, I once saw a demonstration wherein a shotgun shell was emptied of shot and an ordinary wax candle inserted - when fired from a shotgun from reasonably close range (about 12 feet I believe), the candle easily penetrated a sheet of 12mm plywood.

I would imagine that butter would not work quite so well, but if you were able to accelerate a whole stick of it to artillery speeds without simply vaporising it, it would pack quite a punch.

Jon the Geek
07-11-2003, 09:28 AM
Thanks, Mangetout. The other answers are amusing, but I didn't ask about FROZEN butter. That's cheating :)

I really am interested in the physics of this. How fast would a stick of (room-temperature) butter have to be traveling to penetrate a sheet of plywood? Is it possible?

gazpacho
07-11-2003, 10:10 AM
I was thinking about this last night. I was wondering if it was like scr4 was thinking an energy transfer problem. I don't think that it is bullet proof vests distribute the energy into about a 3 inch or so circle. I would not expect that being hit with non frozen butter would concentrate the energy into a smaller area. I think you really have to throw very fast.

These guys agree with this and say bullets kill you by penetrating your body and ripping up internal organs.

http://www.firearmstactical.com/briefs3.htm

Mangetout
07-11-2003, 10:35 AM
Yes, but the energy that the bullet-proof vest is dissipating is only that of a relatively small mass; if you were able to accelerate the block of butter to the same velocity (leaving aside for a moment the problem of it remaining intact during flight), it would impart a great deal more energy to the target.

Mangetout
07-11-2003, 10:37 AM
(of course the recoil would be something pretty shocking - our butter-gun will probably not turn out to be a hand-held weapon)

gazpacho
07-11-2003, 10:41 AM
Originally posted by Mangetout
Yes, but the energy that the bullet-proof vest is dissipating is only that of a relatively small mass; if you were able to accelerate the block of butter to the same velocity (leaving aside for a moment the problem of it remaining intact during flight), it would impart a great deal more energy to the target. So you agree with me you would have to throw the butter really fast.

Trinopus
07-11-2003, 11:18 AM
Fry food in it for the victim and hope his arteries clog?

Is using a sling legal? How about a blow gun?

If limited to me, my victim, the butter, and nothing else in the world (no tools, no strips of cloth, no nothin') I think I might be best off tossing the butter in his face to distract him while I attack him with my bare hands. I can do a *lot* more damage with my fists than I can with the butter, as far as I can figure.

Trinopus

Really Not All That Bright
07-11-2003, 02:16 PM
I imagine a stick dropped from a plane would disintegrate before it ever reached the unlucky butteree.... but if it worked.. you could call it assault and buttery ;-)

Gross (or grievous in Britain) buttery harm, even....

Sorry, sorry, the butter puns end here...

Mangetout
07-11-2003, 02:29 PM
If we're only allowed the butter and bare hands, then I think BraheSilver's strategy is the most promising, if we're allowed machinery, then accelerating the butter into some sort of high power dairy ion beam might be better.

Finagle
07-11-2003, 03:59 PM
To amplify what Mangetout said, look up "High pressure injection injury" to get an idea of what a high pressure stream of solvent or grease can do. With the proper equipment, a stick of butter is entirely suitable for shortening someone's life.

Bippy the Beardless
07-11-2003, 05:17 PM
Finagle
" a stick of butter is entirely suitable for shortening someone's life."