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Author: Subject: More chemists is the best tactic for more acceptance of chemistry.
The_Davster
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[*] posted on 12-7-2009 at 21:53


Pyrotechnics chemistry has always been fine in the energetic materials section. The construction of devices( shells, rockets, mines, etc) is what has tended to have been avoided.

I believe the forum you think of is APC (apcforum.net).




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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 12-7-2009 at 21:58


Quote: Originally posted by kclo4  
I don't know if one belongs here, it could lead to some serious noob problems in the Energetic material section as well as others.
The section I was thinking of would not be the existing Energetic Materials section, which would continue to be for relatively advanced topics. If we are to treat pyrotechnics as a gateway to chemistry, we need a section specifically for that purpose, where newbies are welcome to ask their clueless questions.

I don't think device construction needs to be a focus, however. We can refer folks elsewhere for (the bulk of) that.
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[*] posted on 12-7-2009 at 22:10


I think the noobs would post over at the EM section, even though they had their own little place.

So this other forum would just be pyro compositions or what is it you have in mind?

I think it would be more effective to have a forum mostly built around pyro and simple chem but then slowly build it into a more chemistry related site, though I could be wrong.

Also though probably not nearly as effective since it would likley target the wrong croud but soap and biodesiel making could encourage some people to get into chemistry as well. It could show steam distillations, solvent extractions, and other stuff to get their own fragrances, maybe eventually synthetic scents such as methyl salicylicate, or some other simple to make esters that smell nice.
Those people tend to be interested in saving the world, etc so you could also do different types of batteries to show them you can use non-toxic compounds and that silly junk.

perhaps not more chemists are needed, but more people who get involved with chemistry, such as soap, biodiesel, pyro, etc. While these people aren't really chemists to the sense that we are, I'm sure they would still make home chemistry more accepting.




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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 13-7-2009 at 04:09


Quote: Originally posted by kclo4  
I think the noobs would post over at the EM section, even though they had their own little place.

So this other forum would just be pyro compositions or what is it you have in mind?

I think it would be more effective to have a forum mostly built around pyro and simple chem but then slowly build it into a more chemistry related site, though I could be wrong.
As a rule, if you tell folks what behavior is expected of them, they generally do the right thing. Generally. What little remains can be dealt with by moderators moving threads from an advanced section to a basic section. This has worked OK to date. It's unusual for a new user to screw this up more than once. If we can get clearer posting of these expectations, it should be even less of a problem.

As for starting a new forum, building a new community is notoriously hard. There's got to be a reason for people to participate in it, and there's little upside for the experienced people to use a new forum over Energetic Materials.

Apropos the subject of such a forum, the practical answer has to be "whatever a clueless newbie wants to know about pyrotechnics that intersects chemistry". You're not going to get subject-matter purity, so don't look for that as a goal. What you can get is a useful resource for newbies, where they can ask "why" questions about the recipes they find elsewhere (or even, to a limited extent, find in that forum).
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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 13-7-2009 at 04:31


Quote: Originally posted by kclo4  
Also though probably not nearly as effective since it would likley target the wrong croud but soap and biodesiel making could encourage some people to get into chemistry as well. [...] While these people aren't really chemists to the sense that we are, I'm sure they would still make home chemistry more accepting.
This sentiment is basically right. I dislike the term "wrong crowd", though, because that phrase properly refers to people who are doing harm to society. What you are pointing out, though, is that the pipeline includes many entry points. You named biodiesel and soap as two of them. Some of these people will continue on to do more chemistry, some won't. If they continue on to do more chemistry, we have a new chemist.

Even if they don't, however, we achieved a win in a different way. Chemistry is in many ways a service field, something that informs and accentuates other endeavors. So while more chemists is an ultimate goal to protect amateur science, an adjunct to that is the public perception that chemists are open and helpful.

Open. Sciencemadness has done an excellent job in being open. Polverone's basic policy here is stellar. I feel a bit remiss in not having openly praised it before, but there it is. Honest people have nothing to hide, and the public picks up on this. A forum that is full of secretiveness signals that its participants are doing Bad Things. A forum where people are candid and frank about what they do is another matter entirely. The righteous do not skulk. There is, admittedly, a small segment that is doing bad things and simply brazen about it. They mainly select themselves out into prison relatively quickly.

Helpful. Here's the place where Sciencemadness could be better. Being helpful as a structural goal means supporting two different kinds of conversations. The first is chemists discussing chemistry amongst themselves. The second is experienced chemists discussing chemistry with non-chemists, including both soon-to-be-chemists and never-to-be-chemists, because at this stage these are indistinguishable. There are many ways to support both kinds of conversations. Most of the ways I have thought of involve designating different places for them.
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[*] posted on 13-7-2009 at 13:01


Quote: Originally posted by The_Davster  
Pyrotechnics chemistry has always been fine in the energetic materials section. The construction of devices( shells, rockets, mines, etc) is what has tended to have been avoided.

I believe the forum you think of is APC (apcforum.net).


Maybe there could be another section or subsection that could deal with hobbies like that. I guess hobbies that go hand in hand with chemistry? Such as the shells rockets and things.
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[*] posted on 13-7-2009 at 13:27


Your suggestion has a lot to commend it basstabone; "The Art and Science of Practical Pyrotechnics" has a nice ring to it. . .
I wonder what Go---er, I mean what Polverone thinks?
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[*] posted on 13-7-2009 at 14:05


Quote: Originally posted by hissingnoise  
Your suggestion has a lot to commend it basstabone; "The Art and Science of Practical Pyrotechnics" has a nice ring to it. . .
I wonder what Go---er, I mean what Polverone thinks?


Yeah that's what I was thinking but that it would necessarily only deal with pyrotechnics but all hobbies that have chemistry in them? Maybe that would be too large of a category.
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[*] posted on 13-7-2009 at 14:25


Quote: Originally posted by The_Davster  
Pyrotechnics chemistry has always been fine in the energetic materials section. The construction of devices( shells, rockets, mines, etc) is what has tended to have been avoided. I believe the forum you think of is APC (apcforum.net).

A good page from that site:
http://www.apcforum.net/forums/lofiversion/index.php?t1672.h...
See also:
http://www.freepyroinfo.com/pyrotechnic_links.html
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[*] posted on 17-7-2009 at 15:52


Honestly the best way to make home chemistry more accepted would be to make ourselves more visible.

However, particularly in countries like the USA or Australia, doing so comes with risks.

Much of what we do, although it shouldn't be, is illegal. Production of Iodine (or phosphorus, ether, toluene, MEK, methylamine, ethylamine, nitroethane, acetone, etc.) in the US in any quantity qualifies you as a Bulk Manufacturer according to the DEA (I know- they really need a dictionary). You need a liscence as a legitimate business w/ security measures in place for List 1 chemicals and need to report every batch you make directly to your local DEA office for List 1 or List 2 chemicals (and they charge fees for all this paperwork, too!:mad:)

This is probably the best way to go in terms of gaining acceptance. Heck, I might even give it a try. But you can't expect people to put themselves at risk like this.




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[*] posted on 17-7-2009 at 16:33


The regs say "Bulk manufacturers that produce a listed chemical solely for internal consumption shall not be required to report for that listed chemical".

You are only required to report quantity manufactured for sale or distribution or manufacture of a controlled substance.

In the pharmaceutical industry "bulk" is used to refer to the unfinished (not in capsules, tablets, etc.) drug substance. It doesn't mean "a whole wheelbarrow full".

[Edited on 18-7-2009 by entropy51]
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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 17-7-2009 at 18:07


Quote: Originally posted by ammonium isocyanate  
Honestly the best way to make home chemistry more accepted would be to make ourselves more visible.
Increased visibility is useful, to be sure, but there are too few home chemists as of today to have any significant political influence. Visibility is even a necessary means to make more chemists, because you're not going to reach clueless newbies unless they know something about you. But merely visibility, without the effort of getting more people involved, is just not going to cut it by itself.
Quote:
However, particularly in countries like the USA or Australia, doing so comes with risks.

Much of what we do, although it shouldn't be, is illegal.[...]
Comparing the modest regulations in the USA with the far more draconian ones in Australia isn't fair when discussing visibility. There's nothing in an ordinary lab that would preclude publishing photographs of it in the USA, but there is in Australia (standard taper joints). (And by ordinary, I mean one not in possession of controlled substances. Duh.) I believe your understanding of US regulations is rather more restrictive than the actual law, as well, but that's another topic for a different thread.
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kclo4
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[*] posted on 3-8-2009 at 01:06


So is anything being done, such as what was suggested in this thread, to encourage people to be more open minded about home chemistry? I would have hoped this thread would have sparked someone to do something..





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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 3-8-2009 at 06:01


Quote: Originally posted by kclo4  
So is anything being done, such as what was suggested in this thread, to encourage people to be more open minded about home chemistry? I would have hoped this thread would have sparked someone to do something..
I've received one private message from a member here who's preparing an Instructables posting. That's reasonably quick, in my view, for something to start happening. It's typical that people have mull over strategy for a while before acting on it.
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[*] posted on 3-8-2009 at 06:30


Someone could start a vblog!

Heck, Woelen already has a number of excellent videos; unfortunately for his audience, he would have to narrate them in a couple of languages, which is a little impractical. :P

My "lab" is a little messy to put on camera, I think.. otherwise I could videograph some specific reactions and procedures. Maybe we should do a group vblog, that would allow members of diverse interest to post their things on one channel. Oooh, but I bet more than a few members are unpracticed and rambling when it comes to recording and narrating video... that's a problem...

Still, it would be a good complement for things, like the myriad photographs strewn throughout active threads (like the Anodes thread, the Chlorate thread, the Phosphorus thread, etc.), and could provide visual media for Prepublications.

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[*] posted on 3-8-2009 at 07:54


Quote:
It's typical that people have mull over strategy for a while before acting on it.


Mulling over strategy isn't exactly my style:D. However mulling over how to build an instructible is proving harder then making the damn thing to begin with.





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kclo4
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[*] posted on 3-8-2009 at 11:06


I like that idea 12AX7, although I don't know how much I'd be up for talking in a video. Perhaps we could get kipkay (metacafe superstar) or someone to do it

I was planning on writing a few simple articles and maybe videos of some things like distillation of HNO3, making KNO3 via NH4NO3+KCl, and some various other things like that, but I have not yet got around to it since I've been a bit busy doing other things.

The instructables is a great Idea as well, I'd like to see how that is going.

I am seriously considering a pyrotechnic forum, or another chemistry forum. I know for a fact that if it weren't for this site I wouldn't be interested in chemistry, or at least not nearly as much, and that the interest in chemistry would have never have been started if it weren't for some old pyro forums I used to read. Forums have been a great influence to me, and I think the more forums like this, and pyro the better off home chemistry will be when it comes to public acceptance, and availability of chemicals, etc.

Making a decent chemistry forum would be a lot harder to do then the pyro forum, simply because SM seems to really take care of chemistry and i have a hard time thinking how one would create a forum that isn't just a cheap rip off of SM.

Maybe I am crazy to think that more forums = more people interested, but I like to think that it does. :)






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12AX7
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[*] posted on 3-8-2009 at 11:44


Forums are nice and all but they're useless without popularity. SMDB happens to be fairly popular, and this is where we are, after all.

And don't forget that, although your time may be worthless (as mine is, this summer), others have priorities over checking new posts on twenty forums. Might as well keep it simple.

Although forums for discussion prohibited here (drugs, practical pyrotechnics and explosives, and personal arguments and politics) might be useful. Although some already exist.

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[*] posted on 3-8-2009 at 13:22


Sciencemadness is a great forum :D I like it. And Chemistry is cool. Everybody knows that. :cool::D;):)
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[*] posted on 3-8-2009 at 19:17


I plan on starting a chemistry club at my high school. That is, If I can get at least ten people to sign up (the minimum requirement by the administration).



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kclo4
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[*] posted on 3-8-2009 at 23:26


Quote: Originally posted by ammonium isocyanate  
I plan on starting a chemistry club at my high school. That is, If I can get at least ten people to sign up (the minimum requirement by the administration).



Good luck! What sort of things do you think you'd be doing?




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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 4-8-2009 at 08:27


Quote: Originally posted by 12AX7  
Heck, Woelen already has a number of excellent videos; unfortunately for his audience, he would have to narrate them in a couple of languages, which is a little impractical. :P
[...]
My "lab" is a little messy to put on camera, I think.. otherwise I could videograph some specific reactions and procedures. Maybe we should do a group vblog, that would allow members of diverse interest to post their things on one channel.
The point about language is well-taken. More languages available tends to create more chemists. I have three suggestions along this line.
  • Rights. The key to getting translations is letting someone else do them. To this end, woelen or anybody else can explicitly grant rights to create derivative works for the purposes of translation. To grant such rights, just say so. Such language need not be more complicated than the previous sentence. Unfortunately, Creative Commons does not have anything ready to use on these rights.
  • Subtitles and Transcripts. Putting subtitles on video allows easier translation, because the effort of creating a transcript. If you have subtitles, you might as well publish the transcript separately, to save that step of work as well.
  • Editing support. I've never dealt much with video formats, but it would be useful to have the vocals on a separate audio track to allow for it to be dynamically muted, newscast style, where there's full volume for a moment in the original and then the original is muted and the translator talks over.
As for messiness, home science is messy, as a rule. If people feel like they need a spotless lab to do science, many fewer will do science.

As for a group video blog, I do believe that youtube already supports this. I'll have to check.
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watson.fawkes
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[*] posted on 4-8-2009 at 08:37


Quote: Originally posted by kclo4  
I am seriously considering a pyrotechnic forum, or another chemistry forum. [...]
Maybe I am crazy to think that more forums = more people interested, but I like to think that it does. :)
More forums is a consequence of more interest, but not necessarily vice-versa. Any social group which gets big enough will fragment.

On the other hand, too many forums will dilute the attention of people. If these places don't achieve a minimum threshold, they will tend to dilute existing interest and generate little new interest, and are thus a net loss.

As for pyrotechnics, I do think there's an opportunity for that one. I'd prefer to see it happen here: Pyrotechnics, for practical matters (beginners) and Energetic Materials, for theoretical one (engineering and science). As with the rest of Sciencemadness, there's no reason to promote recipe-seeking, since there are existing places for that.
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[*] posted on 4-8-2009 at 08:42


Quote: Originally posted by ammonium isocyanate  
I plan on starting a chemistry club at my high school. That is, If I can get at least ten people to sign up (the minimum requirement by the administration).
Would you share your experience with folks here? Say, by starting a new thread for it? One of the things we could do here would be to build an advice sheet for how to start a chemistry club. Times change, though, so many members old experience would need to be updated with current conditions and recent experience.
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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 14:53


Problem is... what are the purposes of becoming interested in chemistry for the average person? I asked somebody a couple years ago, what is the purpose of organic chemistry besides making drugs? And they said "making nylon". And this does seem like a very reasonable answer. Problem is that curiosity is not in itself a good enough driving force for most people. You can be amazed by interesting reactions in themselves, but how long can you do that for without a darker reason- especially either making drugs or making fun to watch explosions? Both drugs and explosive stuff are equally hated by the cities. And unless you're getting paid to make nylon what else are you going to do?
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