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(WTSP)   Not news: High school chemistry teacher asks students to bring in a substance from the Periodic Table of Elements. Fark: School gets locked down over a thermometer   (wtsp.com) divider line 195
    More: Florida, Seminole High School, Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, rapid transits, classical elements, Caught on Camera, teachers  
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13349 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Dec 2012 at 2:10 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-12-04 03:47:37 PM  
I hope they never find out the whole school has been contaminated with dihydrogen monoxide.
 
2012-12-04 03:50:16 PM  

czei: I hope they never find out the whole school has been contaminated with dihydrogen monoxide.



2.bp.blogspot.com
 
2012-12-04 03:51:00 PM  

The Irresponsible Captain: Wha? When did a mercury thermometer become hazardous? There must have been hundreds of those things around my school, especially, you know, for taking the temperature of things in Science class.

Take away science and all you get is... Floridians.


They've never become hazardouse. Teachers and security people just got a whole hell of a lot dumber.
 
2012-12-04 03:51:28 PM  
If you're going to do mercury, you should totally bring in one of these, 'cos they're cool:

farm6.staticflickr.com
 
2012-12-04 03:52:06 PM  

Bendal: I also worked on an AF base that tested missile and fighter engines. One building was a nuclear structure test room; inside a large ball of steel was a radiation source made from cobalt. I wonder if they would have let me bring that to school???


Yeah, no.

/pretty sure I got away with the radiation sources we had because they were already in the school and the kit seemed to have been made for HS lab students at one time or another anyway
//It was probably Cobalt-60, I worked with it in college, and I would imagine getting it off the AF base would be the trickier part. At least, God, I would hope so.
 
2012-12-04 03:52:11 PM  
Just bring in the alpha particle emitter from a smoke detector and tell the administration that you think it's radioactive. Put a geiger counter an inch or two away and then watch the chaos ensue.
 
2012-12-04 03:52:55 PM  
Most mercury-looking thermometers today are made with galinstan. It's completely possible that this kid brought in an antique. In either case there was no need to call in the Marines, but I suppose they like to drill once a year or so.
 
2012-12-04 03:55:40 PM  

darth_badger: As long as the themometer is not broken it is still safe enough to put up your bum.


You can swallow mercury. It will just pass through.

It's the vapor that's dangerous.
 
2012-12-04 03:55:50 PM  

Dear Jerk: Most mercury-looking thermometers today are made with galinstan. It's completely possible that this kid brought in an antique. In either case there was no need to call in the Marines, but I suppose they like to drill once a year or so.


are u trying to tell me that the red shiat in thermometers isn't thick silvery metallic mercury?? so confusing
 
2012-12-04 03:57:12 PM  
I bought in BU : Butter.
 
2012-12-04 03:59:19 PM  

urban.derelict: he school shut down 5 years ago, f*ck your stupid religion and your silly imaginary gods; you are just not that important.


demotivationalpost.com

/Watch out, it's hot.
 
2012-12-04 04:00:56 PM  
Diogenes [TotalFark]
2012-12-04 02:14:12 PM

Dancin_In_Anson: Jesus farking God. Government schooling at it's finest.

It's stupid, yes. But I fail to see why the "government" part was necessary or relevant. Public schools are hardly the only places with dopey, zero-tolerance policies and disproportionate, hysterical behavior.

No, not the only place.

You also have ...
government run buildings.
government run airline security.
So yes. "government run" was necessary and relevant.
 
2012-12-04 04:01:09 PM  
Yeah, mercury is fun to play with (was around 7-9). We knew it was dangerous, I am unsure if we even touched it at all.
 
2012-12-04 04:04:04 PM  

red230: Just bring in the alpha particle emitter from a smoke detector and tell the administration that you think it's radioactive. Put a geiger counter an inch or two away and then watch the chaos ensue.


I got to take apart one once (in an isotope lab at a university). They make the Geiger counter sing like crazy. And it's very safe unless you eat it.
 
2012-12-04 04:05:00 PM  
Did anybody bring a smoke detector? I found out well after the fact that my school system at one time had a seed irradiator. Don't know if it was cobalt or cesium.
 
2012-12-04 04:05:15 PM  

StreetlightInTheGhetto: Bendal: I also worked on an AF base that tested missile and fighter engines. One building was a nuclear structure test room; inside a large ball of steel was a radiation source made from cobalt. I wonder if they would have let me bring that to school???

Yeah, no.

/pretty sure I got away with the radiation sources we had because they were already in the school and the kit seemed to have been made for HS lab students at one time or another anyway
//It was probably Cobalt-60, I worked with it in college, and I would imagine getting it off the AF base would be the trickier part. At least, God, I would hope so.


The steel ball was about 4' in diameter, and the cobalt was in a little space right in the middle of it, so unless I had a tow truck to pick it up with, it wasn't going anywhere.

/the building had a gantry crane to lift and position it with
//the operator warned me not to stand in front of the aperture when it was open
///we had to wear dosimeters when in that room
////was just 19 years old back then; fun times!
 
2012-12-04 04:13:14 PM  

OnlyM3: Diogenes [TotalFark]
2012-12-04 02:14:12 PM

Dancin_In_Anson: Jesus farking God. Government schooling at it's finest.

It's stupid, yes. But I fail to see why the "government" part was necessary or relevant. Public schools are hardly the only places with dopey, zero-tolerance policies and disproportionate, hysterical behavior.
No, not the only place.

You also have ...
government run buildings.
government run airline security.
So yes. "government run" was necessary and relevant.


So go to Somalia. I'll help you pack.
 
2012-12-04 04:16:35 PM  

Skirl Hutsenreiter: This is hilarious.

In my day, we did experiments with mercury-filled manometers in chemistry class. For obvious reasons, they weren't completely sealed like thermometers. You just rely on the fact that a protective oxidized layer forms on undisturbed mercury.

Coolest application: super cheap observatory lenses created by taking a bowl of mercury and spinning it up to a constant speed. It forms a parabolic mirror surface, and once the surface is stable, it's safe. You just have to pump out the hazardous vapors that were created while it was being spun up.


You can make a large mirror for low cost that way, but the axis will always be vertical making additional mirrors necessary.

If the dish containing the Hg is close to a parabolic shape you can minimize the amount of Hg needed, but then you can't as easily change the focal lenght by varying the rotatonal speed.
 
2012-12-04 04:17:18 PM  

Unobtanium: Did anybody bring a smoke detector? I found out well after the fact that my school system at one time had a seed irradiator. Don't know if it was cobalt or cesium.


Americium is the most common element.
 
2012-12-04 04:19:02 PM  
Common sense, the rarest element of all.
 
2012-12-04 04:24:12 PM  

Skirl Hutsenreiter: This is hilarious.

In my day, we did experiments with mercury-filled manometers in chemistry class. For obvious reasons, they weren't completely sealed like thermometers. You just rely on the fact that a protective oxidized layer forms on undisturbed mercury.

Coolest application: super cheap observatory lenses created by taking a bowl of mercury and spinning it up to a constant speed. It forms a parabolic mirror surface, and once the surface is stable, it's safe. You just have to pump out the hazardous vapors that were created while it was being spun up.


If that works why haven't we lauched about 55 gals of the stuff into space and made a truly huge space telescope?
 
2012-12-04 04:24:19 PM  

pjc51: If you're going to do mercury, you should totally bring in one of these, 'cos they're cool:

[farm6.staticflickr.com image 640x379]


Unfortunately I don't know where to find robo-spacesuits for alien octopuses.
 
2012-12-04 04:25:09 PM  

ender_kg: [assets.rollingstone.com image 429x500] 
Unavailable for comment.


Thank you! THIS is what the government doesn't want you to know! Mercury poisoning causes teh ghey!!!! The child was obviously an operative working to forward the ghey agenda. Soon there will be enough of them to take over, and then you won't even be marry the way God intended. It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and STEVE!. I should know!
 
2012-12-04 04:27:30 PM  

Tickle Mittens: mcreadyblue: Tickle Mittens: The Irresponsible Captain: Wha? When did a mercury thermometer become hazardous? There must have been hundreds of those things around my school, especially, you know, for taking the temperature of things in Science class.

Take away science and all you get is... Floridians.

If the thermometer breaks, the mercury cleanup is a pain in the ass. Given the potential to damage particularly if theres aluminum the mercury can get to, calling professionals saved money if anything went wrong. Usually, it's a money loser, but if it's done every single time Hg might be spilled, that overreaction probably saves money.

Plus, HAZMAT Team must make sure budget cuts never effect them.

Well, any area of any size has to have one, just in case. So there are a lot of sunk costs. The real cost of the incident are tax-free gas that might not otherwise have been used, and what? I think it's a big deal over nothing like anyone else, I just don't see the authorities' response as particularly irrational. It's Florida and no one ended up shot, doesn't that have to be marked in the "Win" column?


Areas are not required to have a HAZMAT team...
 
2012-12-04 04:29:13 PM  

Magorn: Skirl Hutsenreiter: This is hilarious.

In my day, we did experiments with mercury-filled manometers in chemistry class. For obvious reasons, they weren't completely sealed like thermometers. You just rely on the fact that a protective oxidized layer forms on undisturbed mercury.

Coolest application: super cheap observatory lenses created by taking a bowl of mercury and spinning it up to a constant speed. It forms a parabolic mirror surface, and once the surface is stable, it's safe. You just have to pump out the hazardous vapors that were created while it was being spun up.

If that works why haven't we lauched about 55 gals of the stuff into space and made a truly huge space telescope?


You have to have gravity for it to work.
 
2012-12-04 04:33:07 PM  
When I was a kid in the late 50's, my friends and I would break open radio tubes to get the mercury out. All of us would put it on our hands and play with it. We would rub it on pennies and other objects. Guess what? We are all still alive and quite healthy.
 
2012-12-04 04:33:50 PM  
Mercury's toxicity is greatly exaggerated. Yes, in the form of certain salts it is toxic in very tiny quantities (e.g., methyl-mercury) -- but many common metals have toxic salts. Chromium is famous from the movie "Erin Brockovich" for being very nasty in its +6 oxidation state -- yet relatively harmless in shiny metal form (very common in industry for plating).

In its elemental (metallic) form, mercury is very poorly absorbed by the human body -- unless as a vapor. People have been accidentally injected with liquid mercury (from old medical equipment that used it to measure pressures) and survived long and healthy lives. The mercury in a thermometer is essentially harmless unless you broke the thermometer, put the mercury in a plastic bag, heated it, and stuck your head in the bag to inhale the vapors for an extended period. ...and by then you'd suffocate from the bag anyway.

/chemical engineer
 
2012-12-04 04:34:27 PM  

Diogenes: Dancin_In_Anson: Jesus farking God. Government schooling at it's finest.

It's stupid, yes. But I fail to see why the "government" part was necessary or relevant. Public schools are hardly the only places with dopey, zero-tolerance policies and disproportionate, hysterical behavior.


True, but at private school at least everyone is a volunteer. And they can screen out the dopey and hysterical.
 
2012-12-04 04:35:22 PM  

Magorn: If that works why haven't we lauched about 55 gals of the stuff into space and made a truly huge space telescope?


It does work, but you need gravity and rotation to get the parabolic shape.
 
2012-12-04 04:35:33 PM  
Mercury isn't so bad.
 
2012-12-04 04:36:08 PM  
Couldn't they just, you know, take the thermometer out of the school without the use of a hazmat team? It's not like was was a 5 gallon bucket of the stuff spilled all over the floor.

Having a hazmat team come in for an unbroken thermometer is like hiring Seaword to flatbed a tunafish sandwich.
 
2012-12-04 04:37:38 PM  
wiseolddude
...We would rub it on pennies and other objects...

Well, I read that wrong.
 
2012-12-04 04:38:32 PM  

MythDragon: Couldn't they just, you know, take the thermometer out of the school without the use of a hazmat team? It's not like was was a 5 gallon bucket of the stuff spilled all over the floor.

Having a hazmat team come in for an unbroken thermometer is like hiring Seaword to flatbed a tunafish sandwich.


But...
www.ronanlyons.com
 
2012-12-04 04:39:31 PM  

Miss Stein: Approves:

[i759.photobucket.com image 315x418]

No one else before now? Farkers, I am disappoint.


Mr. Lehrer!
 
2012-12-04 04:40:43 PM  

Magorn: If that works why haven't we lauched about 55 gals of the stuff into space and made a truly huge space telescope?


Mercury is *very* dense -- denser than lead -- and to make a big mirror you'd need a lot of it.
 
2012-12-04 04:43:07 PM  

SirHolo: You can swallow mercury. It will just pass through.


Alright, then why don't you swallow it then?

Elemental mercury is definitely not dangerous by ingestion, but organic mercury is (hence why the fears about mercury in fish actually matter)
 
2012-12-04 04:44:25 PM  

jshine: Magorn: If that works why haven't we lauched about 55 gals of the stuff into space and made a truly huge space telescope?

Mercury is *very* dense -- denser than lead -- and to make a big mirror you'd need a lot of it.


At 13.5 g/cm^3, 55 gallons of mercury would be:

208198 cm^3 * 13.5g/cm^3 = 2810673g = 2.8 metric tons
 
2012-12-04 04:56:37 PM  

jshine: Magorn: If that works why haven't we lauched about 55 gals of the stuff into space and made a truly huge space telescope?

Mercury is *very* dense -- denser than lead -- and to make a big mirror you'd need a lot of it.


It doesn't have to be very deep. If the containment dish is nearly parabolic it can be shallow.

eg, a mirror 72" in diameter with a depth of 1/8" inch will have ~ 500 cubic inches of Hg, just over 8 liters.

There was an article in Scientific American years ago by a guy that had made a mirror using this. I don't remember what size he made, tho.
 
2012-12-04 04:57:14 PM  

jshine: jshine: Magorn: If that works why haven't we lauched about 55 gals of the stuff into space and made a truly huge space telescope?

Mercury is *very* dense -- denser than lead -- and to make a big mirror you'd need a lot of it.

At 13.5 g/cm^3, 55 gallons of mercury would be:

208198 cm^3 * 13.5g/cm^3 = 2810673g = 2.8 metric tons


nerd
 
2012-12-04 04:59:51 PM  
Let's see... Polonium joke? check. Water joke? check. Confusion over mercury poisoning? check. Americium from smoke detectors? check. Wait until they find out about the fluorescent fixtures? check.

Hmmm, only thing not covered would be my rather impressive fossil collection, and my old-school Coleman Lantern mantles... one probably has more uranium than pitchblende, and the other has enough thorium to set off Homeland Insecurity detectors from space... and yes, I would send my kids to school with all of that just to prove a point. The granite, marble, and cement that they use to build the schools with are just as radiohazardous as any substance I just listed (mmmm, yummy radon gas!), and an intact mercury thermometer is still less of a hazard than a broken florescent tube.

Dumbfark school admins.
 
2012-12-04 05:02:17 PM  

Tommy Moo: Jesus flipping Christ. I'm a chemist. I speak with authority: mercury is really not that toxic. Doctors used to prescribe it as a laxative. Granted, you don't want to be around if someone drops it on a stove, as inhaling the vapor can cause problems, but this school is completely buttfarking stupid. I could list a dozen things more toxic than mercury that are allowed in school.

Which isn't to say the assignment wasn't stupid. Literally "everything is from the periodic table."


I suspect it was supposed to be a pure element. There aren't that many that are in common use in pure forms.
 
2012-12-04 05:07:11 PM  

Loren: Tommy Moo: Jesus flipping Christ. I'm a chemist. I speak with authority: mercury is really not that toxic. Doctors used to prescribe it as a laxative. Granted, you don't want to be around if someone drops it on a stove, as inhaling the vapor can cause problems, but this school is completely buttfarking stupid. I could list a dozen things more toxic than mercury that are allowed in school.

Which isn't to say the assignment wasn't stupid. Literally "everything is from the periodic table."

I suspect it was supposed to be a pure element. There aren't that many that are in common use in pure forms.


Just bring nothing, wave arms around, "I brought all this Nitrogen, YOU'RE WELCOME" and sit down.
 
2012-12-04 05:07:54 PM  

Inflatable Rhetoric: jshine: Magorn: If that works why haven't we lauched about 55 gals of the stuff into space and made a truly huge space telescope?

Mercury is *very* dense -- denser than lead -- and to make a big mirror you'd need a lot of it.

It doesn't have to be very deep. If the containment dish is nearly parabolic it can be shallow.

eg, a mirror 72" in diameter with a depth of 1/8" inch will have ~ 500 cubic inches of Hg, just over 8 liters.

There was an article in Scientific American years ago by a guy that had made a mirror using this. I don't remember what size he made, tho.


Still some big problems -- the original poster wanted a space telescope, but this method wouldn't work in space since there's no gravity to produce the paraboloidal shape. On Earth, a mirror made in this way could only point straight up.

/ interestingly, the method is also used to produce glass mirrors -- large observatory mirror blanks are cast in rotating kilns to give them a roughly-paraboloidal shape prior to grinding
 
2012-12-04 05:10:33 PM  

Freakin Rican: jshine: jshine: Magorn: If that works why haven't we lauched about 55 gals of the stuff into space and made a truly huge space telescope?

Mercury is *very* dense -- denser than lead -- and to make a big mirror you'd need a lot of it.

At 13.5 g/cm^3, 55 gallons of mercury would be:

208198 cm^3 * 13.5g/cm^3 = 2810673g = 2.8 metric tons

nerd


Yea, I'm a chemical engineer. This sort of thing is my bag, babby.
 
2012-12-04 05:10:45 PM  

Tomji: Yeah, mercury is fun to play with (was around 7-9). We knew it was dangerous, I am unsure if we even touched it at all.


My dad worked at Pfizer when I was a kid. He always had a bunch of goofy shiat he 'stole' from work.

He had a jar of mercury that I would play with all the time. I spilled it a couple times in our basement but never said a work about it to anyone.

I would roll it around in my hands a lot.

I often wonder if my third testicle has anything to do with playing with mercury.
 
2012-12-04 05:11:33 PM  
I brought some sulfur!

"Well where is it?"

Just give it a minute. You'll know.
 
2012-12-04 05:12:31 PM  

Tickle Mittens: Just bring nothing, wave arms around, "I brought all this Nitrogen, YOU'RE WELCOME" and sit down.


Or you could say "I brought trace amounts of iron" and take a dump on the floor. There's iron in there somewhere.
 
2012-12-04 05:15:46 PM  

MythDragon: Tickle Mittens: Just bring nothing, wave arms around, "I brought all this Nitrogen, YOU'RE WELCOME" and sit down.

Or you could say "I brought trace amounts of iron" and take a dump on the floor. There's iron in there somewhere.


My plutonium, let me show you it: 

images4.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2012-12-04 05:18:11 PM  
And to think I actually entered my parent's former home at the holidays. The furnace thermostat had a mercury filled bulb inside to activate it as I'm sure half the old homes in this city do as well.
 
2012-12-04 05:19:44 PM  

pjc51: If you're going to do mercury, you should totally bring in one of these, 'cos they're cool:

[farm6.staticflickr.com image 640x379]


Mercury arc rectifiers. Yes. They're cool. One of my earliest memories was of my dad holding me up to the inspection port to see one of these.
He worked for the London Electricity Board.
He died young, so I treasure every memory.
 
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