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Nitrogen triiodide is a highly explosive chemical that is easy to

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Nitrogen triiodide is a highly explosive chemical that is easy to [#permalink]

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New post 23 Sep 2016, 11:53
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Nitrogen triiodide is a highly explosive chemical that is easy to make from only two ingredients: ammonia and concentrated iodine. However, no terrorists are known to have ever used nitrogen triiodide in an attack.

Which of the following, if true, is the most likely explanation for the discrepancy described above?

(A) Ammonia can be bought in a grocery store, but concentrated iodine must be obtained from somewhat more restricted sources, such as chemical supply houses.
(B) Nitrogen triiodide is only one of several powerful explosives that can be made from ammonia.
(C) Many terrorists have been more focused on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear or biological weapons, than on developing conventional chemical explosives.
(D) Airport security devices are typically calibrated to detect nitrogen compounds, such as ammonia and ammonium compounds.
(E) Nitrogen triiodide is extremely shock sensitive and can detonate as a result of even slight movement.

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Re: Nitrogen triiodide is a highly explosive chemical that is easy to [#permalink]

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New post 23 Sep 2016, 11:55
What's the problem in C?
Thanks expert.
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Re: Nitrogen triiodide is a highly explosive chemical that is easy to [#permalink]

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New post 23 Sep 2016, 14:00
The key here is to focus on that NONE are to be known to use it in an attack.

Nitrogen triiodide is a highly explosive chemical that is easy to make from only two ingredients: ammonia and concentrated iodine. However, no terrorists are known to have ever used nitrogen triiodide in an attack.

Which of the following, if true, is the most likely explanation for the discrepancy described above?

(A) Ammonia can be bought in a grocery store, but concentrated iodine must be obtained from somewhat more restricted sources, such as chemical supply houses.
(B) Nitrogen triiodide is only one of several powerful explosives that can be made from ammonia.
(C) Many terrorists have been more focused on acquiring weapons of mass destruction, such as nuclear or biological weapons, than on developing conventional chemical explosives.
(D) Airport security devices are typically calibrated to detect nitrogen compounds, such as ammonia and ammonium compounds.
(E) Nitrogen triiodide is extremely shock sensitive and can detonate as a result of even slight movement.


C says "many"--but some could still use it. E is the best option as it shows why no one would ever want to use this as a means of destruction
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Re: Nitrogen triiodide is a highly explosive chemical that is easy to [#permalink]

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New post 24 Sep 2016, 05:54
iMyself wrote:
What's the problem in C?
Thanks expert.


C itself is raising a question that why are they not using the nitrogen trioxide. Hence, It doesn't explain what's the reason behind that. So, incorrect.
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Re: Nitrogen triiodide is a highly explosive chemical that is easy to [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jan 2017, 07:07
Hi experts,
How to rule out option A?
In my 2 cents,option A is another plausible contender.The adversity to obtain concentrated iodine might deter the terrorists to produce nitrogen triiodide bomb;hence,none of them uses this particular bomb in any attack.

Option E is also a good contender.As the bomb is extremely shock sensitive,it may be too risk to carry such bomb to the detonation place.Hence,none of terrorists uses this particular bomb.

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Re: Nitrogen triiodide is a highly explosive chemical that is easy to [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2017, 03:03
A is tempting, but it seems that this ingredient is still available, so it's still not clear why no one has done this. E does a much better job of explaining the situation. The resulting mixture is too unstable to be put to practical use. It's a good thing, too. I would hate to give anyone any ideas!
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Re: Nitrogen triiodide is a highly explosive chemical that is easy to [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2017, 07:26
DmitryFarber wrote:
A is tempting, but it seems that this ingredient is still available, so it's still not clear why no one has done this. E does a much better job of explaining the situation. The resulting mixture is too unstable to be put to practical use. It's a good thing, too. I would hate to give anyone any ideas!



I think A can clearly be the answer. If this question is indeed from MGMAT, then it is poorly written. If the second chemical is available from restricted sources, we can infer that, terrorists might be hesitant in procuring them.
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Re: Nitrogen triiodide is a highly explosive chemical that is easy to [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2017, 00:25
KS15, answer A requires quite a few assumptions in order to serve as an explanation. Do we know that "somewhat restricted" sources are riskier or more difficult to buy from? Do we know that there are other, less risky, options? Couldn't someone steal the iodine? Would these considerations really deter a potential wrongdoer? We can see why it might be mildly challenging to collect the needed ingredient, but that's a far cry from showing us why no one has ever used this substance, and that is the situation we're trying to explain.

Remember that we're not looking for the same kind of answer we'd like in a Weaken q--one that introduces doubt or points us in a particular direction. Rather, we want an answer that clears up our confusion more or less completely. E immediately clears up that confusion. We don't have to assume much to figure that it would be undesirable to work with something that can explode as a result of even slight movement.

I'm not usually a fan of explanations that rely on "this is a better answer" rather than "this is the only right answer at all," since that leaves us open to the idea that the right answer is a matter of opinion. E is so definitive that it keeps me from worrying too much that A could also be the answer, and that's how I would proceed to solve this problem in real-time. However, in review I might notice the issues I mentioned in the previous paragraph and question whether A really does much to explain the discrepancy at all.
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Re: Nitrogen triiodide is a highly explosive chemical that is easy to   [#permalink] 28 Feb 2017, 00:25
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