That’s the philosophical conundrum popular YouTuber The Backyard Scientist chooses to explore in his latest video after having previously grappled with the existential issues of what happens when you pour molten salt onto a watermelon, and why pingpong balls filled with propane are a bad (if strangely cool) idea.
From the natural laboratory conditions of his Florida backyard, The Backyard Scientist carries out his experiment by tricking out a liquid nitrogen canister with a release valve that makes it shoot out like a fire extinguisher, and then pitting it head-to-head against a makeshift flamethrower. The result? The liquid nitrogen freeze gun manages to nullify the flamethrower — in an epic battle shot in scintillating slow motion.
If you’re not entertained by that sight, the video also features such curiosities as whether or not liquid nitrogen can put out a burning laptop, why freezing and smashing flowers is apparently the internet gold standard for testing whether something is frozen, and various instances of our intrepid scientific hero chasing his significant other with liquid nitrogen. (And let’s be honest: From Niels Bohr to Richard Dawkins, what scientist worth his or her salt hasn’t done such things?)
“I made a freeze ray! Im [sic] basically a bona fide evil genius now,” The Backyard Scientist writes in the YouTube description. “Freeze your cat, girlfriend, or flowers, the possibilities are endless ..! wait no, thats [sic] about it.”
It’s already racked up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to build a freeze ray of our own …