A member of the bomb squad investigates a suspicious item on the road near Kenmare Square on April 15.
(Image credit: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

"Crude" is certainly an interesting word to apply to an explosive that is capable of ripping flesh from limb, and so I wanted to find out what experts mean they say they an explosive device is not sophisticated.

The answer is two-fold: electronics and chemicals. First, a "crude" bomb is likely to use a timing device — a so-called "command" bomb that does not require an outside stimulus, such as a radio frequency, or pressure, or a laser, to detonate. Secondly, it probably does not contain high-grade explosives, the type that you'd find in, say, improvised explosive devices in warzones. If you've ever seen an IED explode, you'll note that the fireball is much bigger than the one we've all seen in Boston. For hundreds of years, gun powder, or black powder, was used as the main ingredient in bombs, and it remains the easiest to procure and then figure out how to detonate.

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