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Author: Subject: Facing eviction because of experiment 20 months ago.
qhyperbola
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[*] posted on 7-8-2012 at 06:58
Facing eviction because of experiment 20 months ago.


It's not easy for the home mad scientist in this chemophobic suburb of DC. Lemme tell you the story -
Back in feb 2011 I had been working on an invention - an incinerating safe (anti-forensic stashbox) an electric bolt would unlock the door if correct combo was entered - but wrong combo (or tamper attempt) ignites a contained thermitic charge that safely and quickly destroys the contents of box (so any contraband would be put beyond forensic recognition. [got the idea one night while police were searching my car during traffic stop-they didnt find anything btw]. Anyway I decided to base my design on the erico cadweld exolon system (marketed as a "smokeless" low emmission alternative to regular exothermic welding). Since erico charges over $1000 for exolon rxn vessels and I have a scant funds I tried to mimic their design (Pat.# US4889324 and US4881677 if ya wannna see what I mean) With dremel, handsaw, and powerdrill, a stack of 1" graphite plates was shaped into a baffle assembly bolted and wired onto a regular cadweld rxn vessel.
I tested out my creation outside the door to my basement apt (which is where I'd been doing all the work (and graphite is MESSY to work w/)) - I just wanted to see whether or not the fire and sputter of the rxn would be adequately contained or not. I electrically ignited a couple ounces of thermite mixture and the containment vessel did work largely as intended. A sizzle and a bit of smoke was all that there was - when th rxn had stopped sizzling and no more smoke was being evolved, there was a moment of quiet followed by a loud BOOM. It didNot explode - just made the noise (I later determined that this was due to the "Backdraft" effect - oxygen rich air being sucked into the still hot rxn chamber and combusting with unreacted material). The noise was completely unexpected by me and it startled someone else in my building who called police - which I can understand. Police and fire marshall showed up and I had some explaining to do - I fibbed as to the nature of my project and said I was working on casting rings for my wife and I (this has remained my official story - I even went ahead and did cast a pair of rings via copper alloy thermite a few weeks later)
The cops were rather nice and advised that in Montgomery County just assume whatever it is I want to do is illegal - nonetheless the next day my wife and I were given a vacate notice that mentioned "explosions, property damage (the graphite dust on the ground was mistaken as charring caused by fire)" I typed a too long letter of explanation while still trying to figure out why the "BOOM" had occurred - the appeal was rejected. This incident coincided with our annual lease renewal and they took us to court to evict for tenant holdover. We won the case since the leease ext. had been signed the day before the BOOM. A year passed w/o any trouble and they chose to not renew our lease and took us to court again, they won, but I successfully appealed on a technicality - I live in a commonownership community - the owners association BOD and property manager want to send a message to the renters and insist on making an example of me and my wife (as though home chemistry is a renter-only phenomenon) this has made life miserable - it sucks being a tenant. Oh how I envy those of you who have their own property and can do as they please more or less.
Just needed to get it off my chest.
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neptunium
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[*] posted on 7-8-2012 at 07:47


all of us feel your pain man! its hard to convinced people that we are home experiment hobbyist and enthousiast.
and not bomb makers or meth cook!
however it becomes even harder to explain a loud detonation when the authority arrives!
even with the best intentions !

history is filled with home scientist who made great thrives (the discovery of X rays, isolation of potassium etc....) but those days are long gone and todays reality allows big corporations with big labs to make those discovery and not us...shamefull




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triplepoint
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[*] posted on 7-8-2012 at 10:19


You say you envy property owners, but even we have neighbors, police, inspectors, etc., etc. Except for people with large spreads in isolated areas, its tough all over.
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[*] posted on 7-8-2012 at 10:40


You'll have to point in your lease where it says loud noises, without prior warnings, are cause for eviction. Also, ask for evidence of property damage- If it washed away, it's no harm no foul.

Pyrotechnics may be illegal, but metallurgy isn't. If you were in Massachusetts, you'd have many laws behind you, even as a 'tenant-at-will'... But I don't know where you are.
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[*] posted on 7-8-2012 at 11:48


A safe that incinerates its contents when an incorrect combination is used by accident, say, won't quite have bankers beating a path to your door . . .
Revisiting the blackboard is called for I think!
[Edit]
(That should, of course, be drawing board.)


[Edited on 7-8-2012 by hissingnoise]
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[*] posted on 7-8-2012 at 13:37


Quote: Originally posted by qhyperbola  
Oh how I envy those of you who have their own property and can do as they please more or less.


The language in mortgages definitely mentions hazards to the lender er house, it lets the bank take back your house and equity in it if they want it unless you can pay them in full right now, so actually it's worse. If the bank finds out you've been doing chemistry at your house, they own you, and if you signed on for 30 years, for a long time.




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neptunium
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[*] posted on 7-8-2012 at 19:39


................by the balls may i add...............



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qhyperbola
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[*] posted on 8-8-2012 at 12:43


Thanks for the replies -
Wizzard - I live in Rockville, MD near Washington DC -= the laws on landlord-tenant are landlord friendly. The police didn't think what I was up to was a crime beyond an inadvertant disturbance of the peace though there is a no open flames rule which I might've been breaking - the cops were unusually understanding (I'm used to them being more aggressive w/ me - I've been a guest of the state before) it helped that the fire marshall recognized the cadwelding items for what they were - they just said that sort of thing needs 2b done some place where it wont prompt 911 calls. It was technically a lease violation but for a tenant 2b evicted for breach of lease - the breach needs to be ongoing. The problem is my lease term has since expired so they can evict w/o having to prove anything against me - they're giving me until 8/31 - but I still have another technicality defense up my sleeve - soonest they can evict wont be till december. If only the "no harm no foul" logic worked with the landlords here - my neighbors don't even seem to agree w/ eviction - especially since the incident was over a year and a half ago. Alas.
Triplepoint and SC wack - I see your point - seems like nobody ever really owns anything anymore - still I'm envious of people who have there own garages and work spaces. remember Back to the Future II? ya imagine the world in 30 years and its flying cars and hover boards - its funny that signing contracts that extend 30 years into the future is apparently the norm.
Neptunium - they don't even think I'm a bomb-maker or meth cook (they seem to think I'm a potentially dangerous tinkerer or something like that) at this point though I'm basically an impudent tenant who defied them.
Re your history of home chemist acheivements - they say today Ben Franklin would've been fined for flying a kite w/o license - I was unaware that potassium was isolated by a home chemist (wasn't it Humphrey Davy who did that? was he a home chemist?). My wife says that hennig Brandt would've never discovered phosphorus if he'd been married to her - urine distillation crosses the line of what she tolerates. But chemophobia is over the top nowadays (8 years ago DC spent millions of dollars decontaminating a high school which they had shut down because of metal mercury being spilled in a hallway). I could increase the costs of evicting me by tricking the [repo crew and sherrif carrying out the eviction] into a hazmat response (ie leave a glass thermometer on the edge of a shelf so they break it - or do the same with a clearly labeled jar of potassium ferrocyanide which sounds more dangerous than it is - but I'm going to try to appeal to the community (itsa cooperative) one last time so hopefully no eviction will occurr.
Hissingnoise - yeah as a business proposal, this invention leaves much to be desired - the main market would be to people involved with drugs, plus there's a serious liability issue if somebody gets hurt (especially if its a cop) and if some materials (such as liquids) were stored in it that would be bad (unless this safe really really strong), and it's unclear what other restrictions there might be on the sale and shipping of such a product (though cadwelding material for exolon is classified by usps as non-hazardous (because it does not include the usual ignition powder but instead it comes with palladium coated aluminum core ignition wire (pyrofuze) which is also bafflingly not classified as pyrotechnic) but similar products like electric matches do have restrictions. And yes, more often than not it will incinerate its contents because somebody entered wrong combo by accident. I haven't worked on it since january, but I've had problems genrally with getting this thing to work (though the backdraft problem has been fixed using graphitic felt and ceramic blanket) I might post in the energetic materials forum to get feedback - I've video recorded many experiments (all done off premises) - back to the drawing board it is.
thanks again all
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[*] posted on 8-8-2012 at 14:59


Move to PG county. It costs less. Own your own home there.
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[*] posted on 8-8-2012 at 15:19


get a boat, they go cheap.
people are really petty, Ive had people calling the cops on us because we used to run the generator for power, it was just a dull humm.
what has society turned into??




all above information is intellectual property of Pyro. :D
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[*] posted on 8-8-2012 at 18:21


I always thought that (except in cases of violence) it's incredibly rude to call the police without first going to talk to whoever it is you think you're having a problem with. Glad I have sixty acres and neighbors with similar size spreads (and my mother-in-law holds our mortgage)... pretty sure I could arrange to do an experiment and be certain that no other person was within a quarter mile.



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neptunium
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[*] posted on 8-8-2012 at 20:14



i am seriously considering buying a piece of land in nevada...have been for years!




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Eliteforum
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[*] posted on 9-8-2012 at 13:57


OP, use a few paragraphs. It's hard to read what you're gibbering on about otherwise.



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qhyperbola
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[*] posted on 9-8-2012 at 21:22


Quote: Originally posted by Eliteforum  
OP, use a few paragraphs. It's hard to read what you're gibbering on about otherwise.

Now that I look at it, I am an awfully long-winded bastard. Thanks for the link to the criminally inclined forum. cheers
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[*] posted on 16-8-2012 at 15:15


Sounds like you were lucky enough to get both of the genuinely decent cops in all of Mont.Co. in that scenario. I used to live in Silver Spring, and have many dozen stories of police injustice. They arrested me for "loitering" once for smoking a cigarette w/ a friend outside of the restaurant we were still eating at (because I questioned the validity of their right to question/ID/harass us in the first place for no reason whatsoever).

PG > MoCo as far as crooked cops are concerned....but thats about it.

Anyways, sorry to hear of ur troubles. We are negotiating our lease re-signing right now too and the bastards are being.. "difficult"...




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chemrox
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[*] posted on 16-8-2012 at 17:18


Two things-

1) you've run afoul of the nanny society; born and bred in SF & NY but codified in DC

2) nothing good ever came of anything in DC; get the hell out of there!




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[*] posted on 27-9-2012 at 21:59


I have lived year and half in DC! I RUN out of it!

What a bad energy flow.....

And I went in court 5 times!




[Edited on 28-9-2012 by Ego_and_his_own]
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[*] posted on 30-9-2012 at 00:39


I have to think the days of amateur chemistry are nearly over when they raid you for raising fish.

Police raid suspected meth house, only find fish tank

http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=509182

I think I'll go ahead and copy and paste the story since news report links seem to vanish often. A few years old, Apr 29, 2008. What is interesting is the lady told the contractor what the chemicals were being used for, a fish tank. The man still went to police telling them he smelled vinegar. So the police were informed of exactly what chemicals were involved yet still chose to get a meth lab warrant. Even more troubling is the company putting forth the image the house is unsafe for chemicals some of which one could find in any kitchen. Comments I added are in red.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Brooklyn Park police were looking for a meth lab, but they found a fish tank and the chemicals needed to maintain it. And a few hours later, when the city sent a contractor to fix the door the police had smashed open Monday afternoon, it was obvious the city was trying to fix a mistake. It happened while Kathy Adams was sleeping. "And the next thing I know, a police officer is trying to get me out bed," she said.

Adams, a 54-year-old former nurse who said she suffers from a bad back caused by a patient who attacked her a few years ago, was handcuffed. So was her 49-year-old husband. "They brought us here and said once we clear that area, you can sit down and you will not speak to each other," she said.

Police were executing a search warrant signed by Hennepin County Judge Ivy Bernhardson, who believed there was probable cause the Adams's home was a meth lab. Berhardson, who was appointed to the bench less than a year ago, did not return KARE 11's phone calls. "Ohmigod," Adams said as she recalled police breaking down her door and flashing the search warrant. "I just kept saying to them, 'you've got the wrong house.' " Police soon realized that themselves.

"From a cursory view, it doesn't look like our officers did anything wrong," said Capt. Greg Roehl.

Another troubling attitude

Roehl said the drug task force was acting on a tip from a subcontractor for CenterPoint Energy, who had been in the home Friday to install a hot water heater. "He got hit with a chemical smell that he said made him light headed, feel kind of nauseous," Roehl said. The smell was vinegar, and maybe pickling lime, which were clearly marked in a bathroom Mr. Adams uses to mix chemicals for his salt water fish tank.

"I said, 'I call it his laboratory for his fish tanks,' " Mrs. Adams said, recalling her conversation with the CenterPoint technician. "I'm looking at the fish tank talking to this guy."

So she clearly shows the man the purpose of the chemicals

Police say there was no extended investigation, just an interview with the subcontractor. "Everything this person told us turned out to be true, with the exception of what the purpose of the lab was," Roehl said.

The contractor obviously made up the drug lab story, and police decide to raid with no effort to investigate first. Considering the stories of innocent citizens being killed in similar raids where they are taken by surprise not knowing if this is a home invasion by criminals one would think they should at least investigate before risking the lives of law abiding citizens. They are aware of wrongful deaths caused by circumstances like this they should consider this and investigate first.

I have seen many videos, including one where in 5 seconds the surprised home owner holding a golf club was shot dead in Utah. You cannot tell what is going on when without warning your door is bashed in and men in ski masks with guns come running in. Common sense dictates you be armed when awakened with violence otherwise you have no defense against a real criminal home invasion. How can one know this quickly if you are in a self defense situation considering the tactics used by LEO today?

Adams is looking for a lawyer. "I could say that about my neighbor - I smelled something when I went in their house," she said. "Does that make it right for them to go in there and break the door down and cuff you? I think not!" Police say the detective who asked for the search warrant is an 8 ½-year veteran, but he just started working in the drug task force.

CenterPoint energy maintains the home was "unsafe" and it would have been "irresponsible" for the subcontractor not to report it.


[Edited on 9-30-2012 by IrC]




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[*] posted on 30-9-2012 at 08:39


You are only good citizen if you take huge loans from banks, work your ass out paying them off and vote. And you dont dare to know too much.

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[*] posted on 30-9-2012 at 08:45


I recommend anyone who wants to do home chemistry to educate him self about laws.

And to prepare him self and not get caught in ignorance.

As only thing they can have is to try to intimidate you with FUD. And that only can come out of ignorance.
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[*] posted on 1-10-2012 at 23:15


My point in posting that story even though old (which really means things are worse for us by now not better), was that vinegar smell should not justify a warrant. I don't know the chemistry for drug making because I hate all cooks (they destroy my hobby daily) but I was assuming from what little I have seen online about it that vinegar is not involved nor the smell of it. Troubling then they said the officers did no wrong. I call bull on this. If they do this for a living they must know what they are looking for and vinegar, fish, a salt water tank is unrelated. Therefore no way could probable cause for a warrant be even remotely justified.

So the only conclusion one can draw is it matters not what chemicals you have, what you are doing. In the end anyone with chemistry as a hobby or side profession under their rules is going to be raided, have their liberties shredded, be made out to be a criminal, and in general be punished as much as they can get away with.

Even if this means they blow you away in a botched raid where all you knew was masked men were trying to kill you at 2 AM in the confusion saturated violent way they storm into the home of a law abiding citizen. In effect you are in mortal danger for merely exercising your rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Since if happiness to you is science, to them it is a crime no matter what you were doing.




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[*] posted on 2-10-2012 at 05:49


Thats happening all the time, not just in this type of cases.

Problems are that people dont know their rights and dont want to make/have problems, and event if they have right to sue police for this they dont do it.

And that just make more problems as they think that they can do what ever they want without a punishment.

Its sure that Judge who issued a warrant will not say that police did anything wrong (as he is the one who signed it without a proper evidence). The truth is that you cant sue Judge but you can sue police.

But people are scared, ignorant of their rights. And as someone said "Ones who sacrifice their liberty for the sense of security, don't deserve ether".
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[*] posted on 2-10-2012 at 19:04


Ego: you were paraphrasing Ben Franklin: In 1755 (Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, Tue, Nov 11, 1755), Franklin wrote: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

As true now as it was then.
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[*] posted on 3-10-2012 at 02:21



Quote:

from what little I have seen online about it that vinegar is not involved nor the smell of it.


Ever heard of peracid oxidation of olefins? Glacial acetic acid can be used in this process to produce those lovely ketones I'm sure you've read all about :)
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[*] posted on 3-10-2012 at 08:50


Unless there is evidence that drugs are produced and sold there is no justification for any assumption.

And if you add on top of it that those assumptions can lead to violating someones rights, you get that people lose trust in governing capability of one society.

And know that all human relations are based on trust. If people believe it they will behave according of their beliefs. If they dont then all is worthless. Here lies responsibility of Judges, Police and Law makers. And they solely are responsible to not misuse powers that they have given into trust.

So if some government lose this sense it will collide into dust and injustice, its just a matter of time when it piles up high enough that can all see it.

The problem is that without just government people get corrupted too. And like badly built house it will fall on their careless inhabitants.

I have been a witness of this.

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