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Summer camp for the explosively inclined

The Summer Explosives camp lets campers learn how to blow things up while preparing for an engineering career.

There truly is something for everyone in summer camp these days. Just in time for July 4, The New York Times reports on a summer camp that's a blast. The University of Missouri-Rolla engineering school offers a Summer Explosives Camp that teaches campers how to blow things up.

From watermelons to tree stumps to a 50-foot-high wall of quarry rock, the controlled mayhem serves a purpose, to boost the dwindling ranks of mining and explosives engineers.

And yes, safety is emphasized. Camp adviser and engineering professor Paul Worsey said that

"he saw his role in part as helping these students avoid the troubles that a fascination with explosives can bring. Many people who have been drawn to the camp, he said, have already made things like potato guns and flamethrowers. They could be one fumble away from injury or serious trouble with the law. And the camp, Dr. Worsey said, can give a nudge in the right direction. His fatherly message, he said, is 'maybe hold off on some of this stuff until they get the opportunity to come to college and do it properly.'"

When I attended engineering camp back in high school, I came out still wondering what engineers do. Summer Explosives Camp answers that question with a bang.