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Author: Subject: More chemists is the best tactic for more acceptance of chemistry.
chloric1
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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 16:11


I really believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. First you have all these new biodiesel chemical suppliers springing up. This affords access to common alkalies, acids and solvents at a cost significantly less that traditonal lab supply companies. Plus biodiesel can be a springboard for soap making and, being a green activity, advocates sound use of resources in a positive way.

Secondly, garage science type literature is becoming more common. The more notable examples are the recently published works by Robert Bruce Thompson and Theodore Grey. The latter, MAD SCIENCE, is DEFINATELY, on my to buy list:D:D Both books are fascinating, teach responsibility, and are professionally written. I firmly believe most if not all of the membors here have something special to contribute to this hobby. One or more of us actually getting something published would greatly help to accelerate the movement.

In this climate of economic uncertainty, it imperitive we as a people become more technically educated, more creative, and more self reliant. Having a wave of tens of thousands of teens become like Adam Savage, Robert Bruce Thompson or Theodore Grey would most assuradly usher in new technolgies in energy, material science, and resource management.

[Edited on 9/27/2009 by chloric1]




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S.C. Wack
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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 17:41


None of this will change the feelings towards home chemistry [EDIT: or rather, mere possession of chemicals that you can't safely ingest a pound of] of fire marshals, insurers, code inspectors, and most importantly - mortgage companies. The attempt in the USA to remove any risk from life, via legislation or otherwise, continues to spiral out of control.

[Edited on 27-9-2009 by S.C. Wack]
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Sedit
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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 17:51


I agree. The fact that the government feels as though we need them to protect us from ourselfs means that they will always treat chemist the way they do now or if Im write much worse then they do at the present. I feel a time will come when no pure chemicals can be ordered without a special permit and same with glassware as well. Texas has already started on this road and you can expect the rest of the states to follow soon enough.

All a sad state of affairs really when everyone that WE voted into office do not trust our judgement... LMAO whats that say about them?





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entropy51
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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 17:57


It's not as if there's no reason for the mistrust of garage chemistry. I don't like it, but I can understand it.
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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 18:38


There in lies the problem. All the government ever sees from home chemist anymore is bomb makers and drug makers. Those who are legit they almost never hear from or know next to nothing about. So like entropy started I can understand how they are bothered when ALL they ever see from home chemist are terrorist in there eyes. Even though the odds are say for the sake of argument 1 drug maker out of every 100 home chemist from there point of view they see one true home chemist out of every 100 drug makers.

Given this hypothesis the only thing that could be done in an attempt to alter the way things are now would be for legit home experimenters to look suspicious and draw the attention of the DEA who lets face it are the main shot callers in the suppression of the home chemist. This would cause more lawsuits such as that of Victor Deebs(IIRC) where they get pressured to make up for the wrong they have caused. There would be so many sacrifices in a tactic such as this that a mass uprising so to speak of home chemist is just completely unreasonable.





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chloric1
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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 19:11


Sedit, your absolutely right:P:P:P! There is no use in trying! Just bury the heads in the sand and give up.

On a more serious note, I don't really care what the DEA, fire marshall or other blow hard thinks. We merely need to create a, for lack of better word, create and open geek culture. Buy publishing works, constructive and usefull videos, and giving pubic presentations, eventially the DEA and DHS will that there is meth cooks, bombers, AND people exploring and making discoveries. Granted, most of us are exploring victorian realms of experimentation but when you combine old tech with high tech you would be surprised at what you may discover.




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Sedit
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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 19:36


Quote:
Sedit, your absolutely right! There is no use in trying! Just bury the heads in the sand and give up.


:) Im not suggesting that even if thats how it sounds. I just don't feel the possibility of a mass exodus of home chemist into the limelight is a reasonable thing to expect even if it would help our cause greatly. Think about it. How many here would be willing to post there full names and adresses here? If you can't trust those here enough to expose yourself the odds of doing so in person drop dramaticly.

What should be done and whats practical are sadly two different things. I know sound like a pessimist but Im just taking things for what they are. There can not be improvment as long as we live in shadows but the odds of getting people to come out are lower then the odds of the government accepting us at this point.





Knowledge is useless to useless people...

"I see a lot of patterns in our behavior as a nation that parallel a lot of other historical processes. The fall of Rome, the fall of Germany — the fall of the ruling country, the people who think they can do whatever they want without anybody else's consent. I've seen this story before."~Maynard James Keenan
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Magpie
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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 19:44


I'm not out to make discoveries for the betterment of mankind, or even to push back the foreskin of science. I'm merely practicing a legitimate hobby that I enjoy. This should be no different than people enjoying wood working, knitting, bowling, or golf. Our (US) Constitution guarantees our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It really irritates me that I can't do this openly without fear of unjust persecution. But that's the times in which we live. Terrorists and drugmakers are largely responsible for creating this environment.




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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 20:00


Quote: Originally posted by chloric1  

On a more serious note, I don't really care what the DEA, fire marshall or other blow hard thinks.


If you come to the attention of a fire marshal and you are in violation of NFPA codes, your attitude will please him greatly, and he will make you care. Same story if your storage of flammables, oxidizers, fireworks, environmentally hazardous chemicals, etc. in any amount come to the attention of your landlord, insurer, or mortgage company.

The chemicals will go, and you'll be getting a bill for "cleanup" costs.

[Edited on 27-9-2009 by S.C. Wack]
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ketel-one
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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 20:26


What do legit organic chemists make anyways? Aside from making nylon and that Deeb guy's rubber sealant, what application of what they make have in real life? From what I've seen so far everyone is trying to create not even so much drugs themselves, but definitely precursors or reagents for such reactions (for example one of the stickied pages in organic chemistry is 2,5-something benzaldehyde). I mean I don't have a problem with that, but realistically until drugs become legal, government isn't going to be too fanatic about organic chemists.
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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 21:56


Quote: Originally posted by ketel-one  
What do legit organic chemists make anyways? Aside from making nylon and that Deeb guy's rubber sealant, what application of what they make have in real life? From what I've seen so far everyone is trying to create not even so much drugs themselves, but definitely precursors or reagents for such reactions (for example one of the stickied pages in organic chemistry is 2,5-something benzaldehyde). I mean I don't have a problem with that, but realistically until drugs become legal, government isn't going to be too fanatic about organic chemists.


I make dyes, mostly, fragrance compounds, and polycyclics. I just think they're neat. There's no money in it at all for me, making it a true hobby. ;p

However, I have need of things like benzaldehyde and acetic anhydride in these syntheses, which are usually "OMG, drugs!!!!" chemicals. Some of my planned preps use birch reductions as well, which is another "omg, drugs!!!!!" thing.




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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 21:59


You have so much to learn ketel. Do you like esters? I sure do... thats one thing legit chemist make. Sights scents and smells.... That should be the home chemist goal if you ask me. Even if you like to make mind altering substances you should still have the sights and smell of the reagent as your top priority.... if you don't your going to fail anyway so whats it matter?

Damn man you have no defense what so ever setup for when the boys in blue raid your house do you? Good luck with that.





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ketel-one
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[*] posted on 26-9-2009 at 22:39


Ah how could I forget? Making good smells!

Seriously though I'll be like that guy in fight club and start making soap. 3,4,5-trimethoxybenzaldehyde, nitroglycerin? Well those are just catalysts in my soap making process!
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[*] posted on 27-9-2009 at 06:46


Quote: Originally posted by chloric1  
On a more serious note, I don't really care what the DEA, fire marshall or other blow hard thinks. We merely need to create a, for lack of better word, create and open geek culture.
That open culture you're talking about, if it is to be successful, is going to care about the DEA and the fire marshal (but not, thankfully, the busybody blowhards). It is going to do so openly and forthrightly. Secrecy on a tactical time scale is an unfortunate necessity for many. Secrecy on a strategic time scale on the other hand, is a death knell.

Disregard of other people's concerns is a sure way for them to feel free to disregard yours. At the end of the day, it's as simple as that. It certainly can feel good to be all full of piss and vinegar and say "I'll do it no matter what." And that induces an equal and opposite reaction in authoritarians: "I'll teach those scofflaws a lesson." This dynamic is a recipe for failure, disaster, and misery.

Showing respect for the reasonable concerns of others is a tactic, not an end in itself. The result of applying this tactic is to defuse authoritarian reaction. You say "I respect your concerns" and their response is "They're not a scofflaw, and a man's home is his castle". This dynamic is not only sustainable, it's a foundation for growth of home chemistry and amateur science.

As to the fire marshall, the fire code should be treated as a treasured body of collective wisdom about how not to kill yourself or cause harm to other people and their property. The fact that it's not an open publication itself and is couched in its own jargon and cant is a hurdle, but not an insurmountable one. Every time I've needed to understand a particular piece of the fire code, it's been eminently sensible. Take solvent storage, for example. The principle is that if you have large amounts of solvents, that you segregate them from sources of ignition. So don't store multiple gallons in your lab. You store them elsewhere, with at least a door separating the lab space from the storage space. It's really that simple. It's slightly more work to have "day flasks" of solvent and to refill them, but it greatly reduces the consequences of an accidental fire. Indeed it changes it from something that you can clean up to something that the fire department has to clean up, and that, finally, is the real point.

As for the drug enforcers, their concerns are more or less reasonable, unless, that is, your goal is making controlled substances, in which case I can't help you. While I think the current policies are broken (briefly, because they create economic incentives toward large producers and consequent government corruption), my opinions are beside the point when it comes to compliance with current regulation. To emphasize this, it is not a contradiction to comply with regulation and, at the very same time, agitate to change that regulation. Take the example of the DEA Diversion program and the List I restrictions. They are both annoying and hardly the end of the world. In particular, they're not prohibitions on simple possession. If you make it yourself, for your own use, and don't sell it, you're not breaking any law. In many ways, the regulators have provided a list of synthetic products that every home chemist in the US should learn.
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[*] posted on 27-9-2009 at 08:03


Quote:

As to the fire marshall, the fire code should be treated as a treasured body of collective wisdom about how not to kill yourself or cause harm to other people and their property.


Fire codes are an interesting subject to me. At the last place I worked industrial fire codes were strictly enforced. There was a limit to how many pounds of combustible material could be stored per 100ft2. We would go to such lengths as using metal pallets vs wood or plastic pallets in order to comply with the fire code. We were subject to periodic inspections by a fire marshall.

Now compare this to the typical domestic residence, which is just crammed with combustible material: furniture, clothing, wood, cardboard, and paper. Also there are no inspections by a fire marshall, unless you ask for one.

A week doesn't go by in my community that someone's house, trailer, or apartment doesn't catch on fire. If it is an apartment it very likely will catch the neighbors' residences on fire also. These fires are almost always caused by electrical deficiencies, carelessness, or some little kid with a butane lighter or matches. Granted, on a percentage basis these incidences may be considered rare. But where is the hue and cry about these tragedies? I guess people are comfortable with fires they understand and involve material goods that everyone has.

Now if a fire would be caused by a (gasp) home chemist's accident there would be hell to pay. What hypocrisy.




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[*] posted on 27-9-2009 at 10:01


Quote: Originally posted by Magpie  
I guess people are comfortable with fires they understand and involve material goods that everyone has.

Now if a fire would be caused by a (gasp) home chemist's accident there would be hell to pay. What hypocrisy.
I don't think this is hypocrisy, simply because it's not in the central meaning of that word to be inconsistent with something that you have no conception of. The lack of understanding, thus, is much more central to the actual problem. Ordinary dwellings may be packed with simple combustibles, but all those combustibles are completely typical in their aggregate behavior, and this leads to a fair measure of predictability. On the other hand, the same kind of "typical" isn't present in science or industry. There are too many possible variations. The two kinds of solutions to this uncertainty are engineering and over-caution. The fire code embodies the second principle, because it's generally cheaper than the first.
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[*] posted on 27-9-2009 at 11:00


OK my meaning has been misconstrued. My apparent defiance was not so much contempt for authority but more for making the point that I am not doing anything illegal and I am on constant watch for possible dangers not only to me, my family, and my property but also my neighbors.

I have to agree that taking extra steps to like keeping flammable liquids separate and only having what you need in your lab at the moment does minimize risk. Also, chemicals that do not store well should be maintained at low volumes, sythesized when needed, or replaced by safer substitutes. Examples like solid hypochlorites, ethers, and formic acid.

The skills I have learned in amatuer science have proven their worth many times over. Even if we don't make a discovery to help mankind, we are more able to enlighten ourselves and our peers. Hell, the one sythesis you have done 100 times before may just present itself with a more efficient method to the same end results. Sometimes you not even realize the value of what you are doing. For example, 20 years ago I figured out that adding hydrogen peroxide to bleach produced an unstable mixture that evolved copious amounts of O2 and wat very good at converting common metals to their oxides. For me is was just a lab curiousity but mostly forgotten until 10 years ago the maker of Clorox decided to make a drain opener from this reaction by putting each component in a divided bottle. When I saw this I was shocked but filled with inspiration and wonder. I was 17 playing around with household ingredients and inadvertantly made a consumer commodity 10 years before its time. Only I used it to rust nails and copper wire.:P




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[*] posted on 27-9-2009 at 13:38


Quote: Originally posted by chloric1  
My apparent defiance was not so much contempt for authority but more for making the point that I am not doing anything illegal and I am on constant watch for possible dangers not only to me, my family, and my property but also my neighbors.
It's not enough to be responsible. What's needed is to be visibly responsible. The difference between these two is that between your knowledge of the situation and someone else's, not in any underlying activity.
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[*] posted on 2-10-2009 at 21:16


Quote: Originally posted by Magpie  
It really irritates me that I can't do this openly without fear of unjust persecution. But that's the times in which we live. Terrorists and drugmakers are largely responsible for creating this environment.


No! What you're doing is accepting the government's rules as unchangeable. Have you heard of stanford prison study? That's what you're doing, accepting that the government won't freely let you practice chemistry. Terrorists and drugmakers should be the government's problem, not yours or the environment you live in.
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[*] posted on 3-10-2009 at 07:17


Quote: Originally posted by ketel-one  
Terrorists and drugmakers should be the government's problem, not yours or the environment you live in.
The difference here is that between de facto and de jure. The de facto situation, that as it actually is, is indeed as Magpie described it, that there's an atmosphere of suspicion about home chemistry. The de jure situation, that as justice would demand, is as you describe it, is that it should not be the case that there is this suspicion. What you are saying is that the world should be just. Yes, it should. What Magpie is saying is that the world is not just. No, it's not.

So terrorists and drugmakers have harmed you. Can you seek redress against them directly? You might, but that would be itself unjust, and two wrongs do not make a right. Can you seek redress against them indirectly, through law enforcement? Perhaps, but the underlying problem is that you and the drugmaker are indistinguishable in the eyes of law enforcement, barring other information. Indeed this lack of distinction is the mode through which drugmakers harm you.

So you, and all other home chemists, are at the wrong end of an injustice, with little immediate hope of changing this. So what to do? First, don't cry over spilt milk. This is the way of the world right now, and accepting this reality is more productive than not. Second, get on with the business of making it easy and ordinary to distinguish you from the drugmakers, both by educating the larger world and by working within these circles of home chemists to make this culture distinct, recognizable, and respectable.
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[*] posted on 3-10-2009 at 08:39


Ok fine then the response to the most recent post and the response to my last post is this. Simple steps like being organized,(ex. not storing chemicals wherever), keeping a lab manual filled out to university standards, and becoming a part of a home schooling group. The later might be really convenient for me as I have a child close to kindergarten age. I am still sticking with my point about writing a book or article with an established publishing media(palladium press not a good choice). IF writing is not practical then a series of Youtube videos of a professional approach is very helpful. The main point is that you openly recognize safety precautions, obey local laws, and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise is a structured and professional way.



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[*] posted on 3-10-2009 at 09:38


You are not going to change the mind of the DHS or the DEA in any way, even if you come up with the most frigging awesome PR stunt the world has ever seen. These organizations exist on the behalf of lobby groups and thus large corporate muscle. It all boils down to money and protecting your interests.

Alot of people are laughing all the way to the bank because of their participation in the war on drugs and terror.

[Edited on 3-10-2009 by vulture]




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[*] posted on 12-12-2009 at 07:59


Since I mentioned NFPA codes...a little searching of the gigapedia shows

NFPA codes 1-5000 as of 2002:
http://rapidshare.com/files/23535086/NFPA2002.part1.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/23583434/NFPA2002.part2.rar
It's a windows program for installation.

Just the

Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals
(2000) http://ifile.it/zmr5hno

Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code
(2000) http://ifile.it/s2ni1j




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entropy51
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[*] posted on 12-12-2009 at 09:51


Thanks, S.C. Those sure bring back memories. Years ago when our labs underwent the annual inspection by the fire marshall, we could almost always shut them up by pulling out NFPA 45 and showing them that we were in compliance. Before we got that standard, there was a certain arbitrary and capricious flavor to those inspections.
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[*] posted on 13-12-2009 at 15:26


I'm not entirely sure if you've touched upon this but the three (or 4) letter agencies have many many people who are gainfully employed by same....

......A "hobby" is not going to hold a candle to the loss of the income of thousands of people. We are NOT talking about money against money such as why we still have gasoline engines....we are dealing with the same discussion-path as "Could you please tear down the Municipal Court; I want to use that area for a football field".
In effect, the proposal is an exaggeration of "I have a hobby and my recreation may threaten the expansion of your job"...... is a NO WIN proposal.

Some of these agencies (like the DEA) are DAMN strong politically as they also function as Intelligence agencies in addition as their prime target. NO ONE who makes decisions that MAY curtail that platform will even give a wink at the idea of slowing up an agency that may seriously have national security interests as some of it's agenda.
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