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(Smithsonian Magazine)   How the obsolescence of the home chemistry set makes young scientists less safe, and why it should be brought back. Darwin looks on with growing interest   (smithsonianmag.com) divider line 19
    More: Obvious, National Museum of American History, Fields of science, buckyballs, Rachel Carson, Toxic Substances Control Act, chemical test, silent spring, polio vaccine  
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4123 clicks; posted to Geek » on 12 Oct 2012 at 3:14 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-12 02:33:53 PM  
6 votes:
CSB:

When I was 10, I got a chemistry set with some pretty powerful stuff in it (early 70s, you could sell shiat like that and not get sued into the Stone Age) and the first thing I did was mix two of the items it said to NEVER mix.

It puffed a huge cloud of smoke, and I freaked out and dropped the little beaker out of the set, spilling whatever it was that the reaction created into the styrofoam tray that all the vials, test tubes, etc were packed in, and completely reduced the entire "101 Experiment Master Chemistry Set" to a puddle of pink ooze, interspersed with what was left of my birthday present.

SCIENCE!!
2012-10-12 07:53:48 PM  
4 votes:
I say bring back real chemistry sets. What's the worst that could happen?

cdn.videogum.com
2012-10-12 01:43:00 PM  
4 votes:
You can find stuff in the kitchen.  Tonight I'm making a volcano with vinegar and baking soda.  Tomorrow daddy and I are inventing and cooking up a powerful hallucenigenic made out of mold, frito's corn chips, and Draino that we're going to market to my friends at school as "Pony Enhancer!"
2012-10-12 08:37:14 PM  
2 votes:
I'll never forget the first science kit my dad got for me when I was but a young lad.
A cylindrical container, into which a magical oil made from vegetables was poured.
The kit contained a sharp instrument, knife-like in appearance, and a chemical labeled "sodium chloride".
Under supervision I would take a common potato, slice it thinly, and place it into the container.
My dad would then turn the science dial to maximum, and the oil would heat up to a dangerous, roiling boil, transforming the tubers into a delicious concoction, made even tastier with the addition of the aforementioned chemical.
I couldn't have gotten where I am today without that early childhood experience.
2012-10-12 04:34:01 PM  
2 votes:

Mr. Coffee Nerves: Posting in the correct thread - how hard can it be?


Maybe if you had a chemistry kit as a kid...
2012-10-12 04:14:03 PM  
2 votes:
When I was a kid in the early 60's, my folks gave me Chemcraft chemistry set. I think the box promised 50 experiments, but I only remember one and I'm sure the smell from that one still lingers in the basement of that old house. Next they gave me a lead soldier kit which allowed me to turn molten lead into World War 2 soldiers in three different poses. After that they gave me a Heath Kit that allowed me to build a tube type stereo amplifier. It wasn't until they gave me a black power pistol that I began to become suspicious that they were really trying to kill me and make it look like an accident.
2012-10-12 03:52:35 PM  
2 votes:

Somaticasual: The problem with modern chemistry sets is that, through the years of idiotic media scares, they're down to about 5 or 6 ridiculously boring experiments.


THIS.

Last Christmas I bought my nephews some "chemistry sets" which turned out to contain vinegar, salt, sugar, and some food coloring. I told them they could make cucumber salad dressing if they really felt ambitious..
2012-10-12 03:19:17 PM  
2 votes:
they could use this as their home chem lab

www.motornomadics.com
2012-10-12 02:09:20 PM  
2 votes:
Sad to see these go. Just think how much further ahead we could be in Meth technology.
2012-10-12 01:21:27 PM  
2 votes:
Posting in the correct thread - how hard can it be?
2012-10-12 09:31:15 PM  
1 votes:
When I was 8, back in 1969, my mother left a $20 bill on the counter. I grabbed it never even thinking I was stealing. It just never registered that my mom could leave out that much money. To me it was just like finding it on the street.
I got my friend, hopped on our bikes, and made a beeline for the toy store. I got my friend a squirt gun, and got myself a geology science kit.
It had an alcohol burner for wire loop flame tests, scales for measuring specific gravity, lots of different ores including galena, fools gold, and uranium ore that would set off a geiger counter. a few different minerals of various Mohs scale hardness, and a hunk of asbestos.
I was a little disappointed that thin strands would melt and burn. I wanted it to be some magical impervious to fire stuff.
Of course, my mom was pissed, because $20 was a significant amount of cash at the time. My dad was in 'Nam at the time, and she made me explain what I did during his monthly call. I just went on about how cool the set was, and he thought it was hilarious.
2012-10-12 07:50:40 PM  
1 votes:

meat0918: Baking soda and vinegar only go so far.

I've got an old "Boy's Guide to Science" from the 60's that has some interesting chemistry experiments for kids, but I don't know where to get some of the things to do them.


Libyans.

www.dailyautocrat.com

Be sure to have a good escape plan.
2012-10-12 07:14:18 PM  
1 votes:
how can we do that? it's nearly criminal to own glassware or a balance. legalize meth already. solve obesity, the economy, depressed housewives...
2012-10-12 06:48:45 PM  
1 votes:
My local school system had a farking seed irradiator. Can't remember if it was Cs137 or Co60, probably the former. Never got to use it, though, by the 1970's they hid it from the kids.

One guy in our neighborhood has one of the old electrostatic/ultraviolet patent-medicine "treatment" kits.

This thread gives me lots of ideas to share and build on with little Un. Got to be careful these days, stuff I did growing up would probably be "OMG - terrorism!" today.

/NaClO3 + C12H22O11 + a little heat = a lot of heat + smoke + some other stuff and a "WHY is the attic fan on in the middle of JANUARY ? ! !"
2012-10-12 06:25:58 PM  
1 votes:

markie_farkie: CSB:

When I was 10, I got a chemistry set with some pretty powerful stuff in it (early 70s, you could sell shiat like that and not get sued into the Stone Age) and the first thing I did was mix two of the items it said to NEVER mix.

It puffed a huge cloud of smoke, and I freaked out and dropped the little beaker out of the set, spilling whatever it was that the reaction created into the styrofoam tray that all the vials, test tubes, etc were packed in, and completely reduced the entire "101 Experiment Master Chemistry Set" to a puddle of pink ooze, interspersed with what was left of my birthday present.

SCIENCE!!


If it burned off the "10" it would become the 1 Experiment Master Chemistry Set.
2012-10-12 05:28:43 PM  
1 votes:
Want kids to play with chemistry sets? Then forbid them to play with chemistry sets as too dangerous.
2012-10-12 05:26:31 PM  
1 votes:
and yet there are still tonnes of these...
crimecollar.com

God bless America.
2012-10-12 04:25:21 PM  
1 votes:
My mother worked for a chemical company that sold natron (basically soda ash and some other stuff) and brought home about 30 lbs one year. I spent a couple of months practicing Egyptian mummification on fruits and vegetable and eventually some mice from the traps in the basement. Now I'm a historian.

All we're doing is teaching kids to never try anything that might possibly injure them and when they grow up they don't have any interests outside of tv and video games or know how to do anything practical.

/Mummification is totally a practical skill
2012-10-12 01:49:37 PM  
1 votes:
I used my chem set to declare war on the local ant populations.

It's amazing how many more ants you can kill with biological attacks when compared to conventional concentrated light-based weaponry.
 
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