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Harristotle
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[*] posted on 5-8-2017 at 05:32
On the usefulness of amateur chemistry to society


Greetings to all.
I have wanted to put something on record for a while. That is, to acknowledge what I see as the substantial contribution of the amateur chemistry community to public education, and to the enrichment of school curricula.

In large part, due to the sometimes active, but often passive via following very interesting threads and discussions, Science Madness has made the following direct and substantial contributions to my work, and through that to the Western Australian curriculum.

1. Assistance, and information from the Readily Available Chemicals thread gave me the means to produce a colloidal gold nanoparticle practical for which I have received over 50 requests resulting in this lab being accessible to many high school students at a cost of approximately $2 per group of 4. This has resulted in students getting the "oh wow" of seeing beautiful gold nps form from a pale yellow solution. The Sigma-Aldrich cost of $180 per bottle of reagent meant that most schools in my area used to just show a youtube video.

2. Some of the great discussions on TLC (eg http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=6690#p... and others), have helped me develop a microscope slide/talc system that can be cheaply made in schools, and when our curriculum expanded for Y11, allowed chemistry classes to cheaply explore this technology, which gives the students the insights necessary to understand many modern analytical techniques. It is important to note that if you want to produce future chemists (not just GMAT/GAMSAT students who are interested in chemistry as compliance), you have to let them get their hands dirty. I received much of my initial support from this forum. In addition to the general Y11 chem support, this has helped a group of my students develop a quantitative assay for paracetamol using an iphone and this technique. We are hopeful that they may win a science talent quest with it.

3. The introduction that this forum gave me to Soxhlet condensers, and their techniques has been most useful. Another group of my students have extracted germination-suppressing compounds from an Australian native plant, and are starting the work of pinning the compound down. I have never used one of these in my own undergrad degree many years ago (as a biologist/biochemist it didn't cross my path), and the discussions in these threads have been important in forming the understanding that enabled my students to do this research.

4. The discussion on Rochelle's salt and its preparation, as well as the Readily Available Chemicals list led me to develop and write a lab activity on measuring proteins using the old Biurette reagent. It was the help in "porting" to the otc format, and making this cheap and affordable for underfunded schools that I owe thanks to this forum too. Bunnings, baked baking soda, and crystalisations of cream of tartar/tartaric acid on the summer holidays led to a published student lab manual, which is used by most Y12 schools in my state.

5. The threads on making gallinstan, used on conjunction with the 2015/2016? paper on reversably oxidising its surface to make a microfluidic pump have lead to a "liquid robot" that a bunch of my students are building and coding in an advanced STEM/ robotics class.

In these times where everything that is chemistry seems in the public arena to be related to bombs, poisons or terrorism, I feel that it is important to acknowledge the huge public good that this forum has helped me achieve.

So what public good has the amateur chemistry community (this or other) helped you to do? Let us know, I think we should highlight the good too, and not just led poorly informed press define us.

Cheers,
Harristotle.
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[*] posted on 5-8-2017 at 05:48


Thanks H.

We should talk. It seems we have much similar experience.
However it is late here and I am off to bed. I'll send a U2U soon.
J.
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[*] posted on 7-8-2017 at 22:23


This is a good thread idea. It's worth keeping in mind that a significant amount of the individuals in the amateur chemistry community are in fact professional chemists in their day life, or just in general very skilled chemists (even if "amateurs"). For this reason, I personally don't feel like the amateur chemistry label is a very accurate one for the community, but either way, this online chemistry community in general is quite incredible for all of the reasons you mentioned. Anytime people can come together, experiment, and share their thoughts and opinions in an open forum type format is very valuable to the scientific community as a whole, in my opinion.
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[*] posted on 8-8-2017 at 05:33


Quote: Originally posted by Harristotle  
Greetings to all.
I have wanted to put something on record for a while. That is, to acknowledge what I see as the substantial contribution of the amateur chemistry community to public education, and to the enrichment of school curricula.

In large part, due to the sometimes active, but often passive via following very interesting threads and discussions, Science Madness has made the following direct and substantial contributions to my work, and through that to the Western Australian curriculum.

1. Assistance, and information from the Readily Available Chemicals thread gave me the means to produce a colloidal gold nanoparticle practical for which I have received over 50 requests resulting in this lab being accessible to many high school students at a cost of approximately $2 per group of 4. This has resulted in students getting the "oh wow" of seeing beautiful gold nps form from a pale yellow solution. The Sigma-Aldrich cost of $180 per bottle of reagent meant that most schools in my area used to just show a youtube video.

2. Some of the great discussions on TLC (eg http://www.sciencemadness.org/talk/viewthread.php?tid=6690#p... and others), have helped me develop a microscope slide/talc system that can be cheaply made in schools, and when our curriculum expanded for Y11, allowed chemistry classes to cheaply explore this technology, which gives the students the insights necessary to understand many modern analytical techniques. It is important to note that if you want to produce future chemists (not just GMAT/GAMSAT students who are interested in chemistry as compliance), you have to let them get their hands dirty. I received much of my initial support from this forum. In addition to the general Y11 chem support, this has helped a group of my students develop a quantitative assay for paracetamol using an iphone and this technique. We are hopeful that they may win a science talent quest with it.

3. The introduction that this forum gave me to Soxhlet condensers, and their techniques has been most useful. Another group of my students have extracted germination-suppressing compounds from an Australian native plant, and are starting the work of pinning the compound down. I have never used one of these in my own undergrad degree many years ago (as a biologist/biochemist it didn't cross my path), and the discussions in these threads have been important in forming the understanding that enabled my students to do this research.

4. The discussion on Rochelle's salt and its preparation, as well as the Readily Available Chemicals list led me to develop and write a lab activity on measuring proteins using the old Biurette reagent. It was the help in "porting" to the otc format, and making this cheap and affordable for underfunded schools that I owe thanks to this forum too. Bunnings, baked baking soda, and crystalisations of cream of tartar/tartaric acid on the summer holidays led to a published student lab manual, which is used by most Y12 schools in my state.

5. The threads on making gallinstan, used on conjunction with the 2015/2016? paper on reversably oxidising its surface to make a microfluidic pump have lead to a "liquid robot" that a bunch of my students are building and coding in an advanced STEM/ robotics class.

In these times where everything that is chemistry seems in the public arena to be related to bombs, poisons or terrorism, I feel that it is important to acknowledge the huge public good that this forum has helped me achieve.

So what public good has the amateur chemistry community (this or other) helped you to do? Let us know, I think we should highlight the good too, and not just led poorly informed press define us.

Cheers,
Harristotle.


just an aside really, you mentioned germination suppressant from a native plant. From something i have been reading tomato seeds also have one on the seed coat, i dont remember much but apparently the brown substance under the gel on the tomato seed is the suppressant.

Thought i would mention it in case you wanted some other seed to look at.
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[*] posted on 8-8-2017 at 06:05


Thanks Nemo,
there are a few. This was present in the leaves, and resulted in fairly bare ground underneath the plant involved. Apparently acetates and acetic acid is a known suppresser found in decomposing leaves. Soxhlet extraction of fresh leaves suggests that this agent might be something different.

Over the next year we will look into it more, probably starting with acidic, basic and neutral extraction into organic solvent, and then perhaps a column separation with fractions dried and fed into a germination bioassay.

It is a great science project for a kid: the extractions can be done at school, the fractions dried onto paper and the bioassay done at home. The plant, incidently, is not toxic and in fact suffers from the fact that it is eaten by feral goats and camels !

Cheers,
H.
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[*] posted on 8-8-2017 at 06:21


Quote: Originally posted by Harristotle  
Thanks Nemo,
there are a few. This was present in the leaves, and resulted in fairly bare ground underneath the plant involved. Apparently acetates and acetic acid is a known suppresser found in decomposing leaves. Soxhlet extraction of fresh leaves suggests that this agent might be something different.

Over the next year we will look into it more, probably starting with acidic, basic and neutral extraction into organic solvent, and then perhaps a column separation with fractions dried and fed into a germination bioassay.

It is a great science project for a kid: the extractions can be done at school, the fractions dried onto paper and the bioassay done at home. The plant, incidently, is not toxic and in fact suffers from the fact that it is eaten by feral goats and camels !

Cheers,
H.


I really like plant chemistry, i do alot of plant extractions and TLC plates of the compounds. I couldnt afford column Chromatography because the silica was really expensive.

Then i found a cat litter online that is really similar but needs some ball milling first. But i cant moan as the cat litter is £4.50 for 10Kg, a fraction of the price for the real stuff.

Messing with mint plants at the moment and goats seem to like those as well lol. Not too many camels roaming wild in the UK so that isnt an issue. Rabbits however are fast becoming my number 1 source of frustration

[Edited on 8-8-2017 by NEMO-Chemistry]
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[*] posted on 8-8-2017 at 07:33


My question is why does everyone seem to think that Sigma-Aldrich is a good idea to buy from, especially at the grade school level? They are RIDICULOUSLY expensive.

There are also so many chemical suppliers that mainly cater to schools, and other cheaper supplies like Oakwood Chemical.

EDIT: This is also highly dependent on where the OP is located. Oakwood Chemical is in the USA.

[Edited on 8-8-2017 by Loptr]




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[*] posted on 8-8-2017 at 08:06


Sigma is expensive. (I did love their catalogues though!)

No matter, I can figure around most things.

For silica, I was thinking magnesium silicate aka talc. Fine particles, no milling, no toxicity (although in the old days, talc deposits were sometimes contaminated with asbestos, this doesn't happen now).

I'm in Australia, it has been pretty good here for me. There are some restrictions on glassware, and we are watched, but good notebooks, a reasonable reason, and sensible safety/ no recklessness means no trouble. Anything that is reasonable to use in a school is accessible, and while the OHS regime (as everywhere) stops kids from having as interesting an experience as we did at school, you can do a surprising amount.

The big problem though is the continuing slide into chemophobia. This is true across the western world.
My concern is to avoid a kind of "cultural death", in which we as a country just lose the capacity to do chemistry, and to use chemical tools to solve problems. In the end, I don't want to see my country weakened and totally dependent on outside technology, bought in at huge cost, and without the skilled people to use it. We are sitting on an ancient biodiversity hotspot, as diverse as any tropical rainforest. If we knew all the chemical tricks that all that life uses, we would have the best pharmaceutical industry in the world, no foreign debt, and a guaranteed top lifestyle for many generations to come!

Hence my interest in recording and emphasising some of the positives of hobby chemistry (taking on board that some don't like it called amateur chemistry).

Cheers,
H
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[*] posted on 8-8-2017 at 11:07


Talc!!!! Never occurred to me at all. Thanks alot for that, it opens other doors for me :D.
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[*] posted on 23-9-2017 at 10:12


On the usefulness of amateur chemistry to society, I would say the ability, through advanced and diverse scientific bodies of knowledge to circumvent restrictions with respect to equipment or reagents, and be able to move forward.

Some of just my more recent commentary involve such areas as magnetic field effects on chemistry, sonolysis, photolysis, radical chemistry, surface chemistry, chemistry of aerosols, Fenton and Fenton-type reactions, electrochemistry include the chemistry of corrosion, electrochemical (battery) cells,.....

[Edited on 23-9-2017 by AJKOER]
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[*] posted on 23-9-2017 at 14:36


Quote: Originally posted by AJKOER  
On the usefulness of amateur chemistry to society, I would say the ability, through advanced and diverse scientific bodies of knowledge to circumvent restrictions with respect to equipment or reagents, and be able to move forward.

Some of just my more recent commentary involve such areas as magnetic field effects on chemistry, sonolysis, photolysis, radical chemistry, surface chemistry, chemistry of aerosols, Fenton and Fenton-type reactions, electrochemistry include the chemistry of corrosion, electrochemical (battery) cells
And yet,
"Commentary" is all that it is. Where have you actually tried any of these things that you claim will work? Are you expecting others to do it for you? You're not really a scientist if you just make claims without backing them up by experimenting, or at least reference experiments that back up your exact claims.




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[*] posted on 23-9-2017 at 14:55


The usefulness of amateur chemistry is irrelevant to in the bigger picture: It is every users basic rights to be able to do as they please in the comfort of their own labs, in their own home, in the country they live in. I just want to put that out their because it this thread could lead to a the discussion of potential the justification of amateur chemistry. That being said I would like to ask what people think of the following: Is the time of amateurs contributing to major advances/discoveries over? Has science at home lost its potential for say? I hope this post contributes to the discussion.



Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost
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[*] posted on 23-9-2017 at 19:30


Zts16:

See my thread on a photolysis path to chlorate at https://www.sciencemadness.org/whisper/viewthread.php?tid=34... with 11 pictures and lots of science too!

Be careful, that thread alone could give anyone a real big bang!!

But my most scary experiment was when I microwaved N2O and NaOH on a porclean dish in an plastic vessel. The sparks were so intensely hot that the dish violently broke apart. See https://www.sciencemadness.org/whisper/viewthread.php?tid=74... .Now, that was hot!

Alas, I do not report all my experiments, even the cool curious ones. Most recently, one of my threads (in Energetic Materials) required ZnO as a photo catalyst. I decided to test a new approach following the steps of a bleach battery (NaOCl (aq), Al and Cu, a touch of sea salt), but replace the aluminum with zinc. This was, in essence, an electrosynthesis of ZnO in a galvanic (or electrochemical) cell. The target product of ZnO was hopefully produced by jumping the reaction in a microwave. The heating also served to hopefully form ZnO and not Zn(OH)2. The results were somewhat successful (there was a flow of ZnO/Zn(OH)2 off of the zinc sheet going to the top and bottom of the vessel and onto the Zn sheet), but upon adding more (now an excess of bleach, a bad idea reducing yield), I witness a curious green color develop in the alkaline solution. I removed the zinc metal sheet, and saw what looked like a greenish colored spherical zone in the center of the solution. Remember no acid added, but perhaps some amphoteric Zn(OH)2 produced H+. The latter with NaCl and OCl- could have created some chlorine. But why centered in the solution? Also possible is, from created current in this battery cell, e- + H+ = .H and .H + OCl- = OH- + .Cl . The latter chlorine radical, centered in the cathodic zone, residing where the Zn metal was, could further have produce species like .Cl + .Cl = Cl2 or .Cl + Cl- = -.Cl2 or Cl2 + Cl- = Cl3-. Cool nevertheless. Will repeat and better document.

[Edited on 24-9-2017 by AJKOER]
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[*] posted on 31-10-2017 at 07:00


US Patent 7,300,957 was the result of what I did in my garage. I know of at least one company that is using the material, which is basically, soaps.

The problem the amateur chemist has, is that the loser drug makers have caused public perception to be that just because someone is holding a beaker, they are a suspect. For this reason, I got rid of a small fortune's worth of glassware a decade ago. I didn't want to be accused of something I didn't do merely because of appearances, and spend $50k defending myself to prove I wasn't doing anything unlawful.

Another issue is hazardous waste generation. Most chemistry will involve producing some unwanted by-product that cannot be dumped down the drain.

Probably the safest things to work with would be soaps, and simple metals chemistry, like recovering gold and other precious metals. I did US Patent 5,156,721 in my basement.

There are a lot of beneficial projects which can be undertaken in a micro lab, as Charles Hall had when he invented his aluminum process.

Right now, one interest is in separating enantiomers of esters, I'd like to resolve the d and l isomers of glycerly monoesters, such as glyceryl mono oleate, in a clean way at high yield, anything over 30% would make me happy.

Another fruitful area for the "home chemist" could well be in the field of magneto-calorics. This is where an alloy is subjected to a magnetic field whereby the alloy loses heat and is then removed from the magnetic field to once again absorb heat. discovering the next generation materials could be the answer for air conditioning in electric vehicles.

Another potential fruitful area is in metals chemistry, to cause dissloution of noble metals while using no noxious chemical materials.

For several years I've searched also for superconducting materials, using mixed oxides of transition metals. Each sample I prep'd was less than a gram, so after several years I had generated less than one pound of "waste". The closest I came were the Lanthanum manganates series. Strangely, somehow, my lab notes went missing, I don't know where that book is. About 4 years later, some group in China published a paper that contained a lot of what I had been working on.

There is also opportunity for developing air conditioner units which employ water as the primary refrigerant. The enthalpy of vap. for water being 44 kJ/mol is a godsend.

I see on the internet lots of folks talking about doing organic chemistry in a home lab. With the exception of soaps, I think the home organic chemistry lab is a very very very bad idea. There are simply too many other areas of investigation one can keep busy with that do not arouse unnecessary suspicion. I've profited from the two patents above, and you can also profit if you find a "need in the marketplace" for what you anticipate doing. Good luck to all.






















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[*] posted on 30-11-2017 at 20:26


The fact of the matter is chemistry has a stigma to it. Personally I don't think the problem is drug cooks ruining it for the rest of us, the problem is that the powers that be; and your average ignorant normie civilian, conflate home/hobby chemistry with clandestine chemistry. Personally I believe all drugs should be legalized... no-one be they God or man has the right to tell me what I can put into my body and I'd wager my left bollock that if substances were made legal there would be no difference whatsoever to the number of individuals that become addicts... Don't believe the propaganda in regards to methamphetamine... amphetamine salts have been used for ADHD for decades and the consensus is that they cause no long lasting harm, the propaganda confirms this as there is big money in promoting stimulants for ADHD but the scientific studies, research papers, scholarly articles confirm this also... Now methamphetamine is a different story... the powers that be from every level of govt. be it the surgeon general and health beurocrats, Law enforcement, MP's and all the chucklefucks in the senate or the house of reps push the narrative that meth will FUCK YOU UP FOR LIFE and turn you into a rabid dog that skull fucks grannies for fun and to rob them for more meth... Complete and utter bollocks mate... go digging for scholarly articles on methamphetamine (and I've read loads...) and the consensus is they are only slightly more damaging that dexamphetamine in high doses due to their ability do displace dopamine from vesicles more efficiently and for far longer... The same is true for their action on the reuptake mechanism (both blocking and reversing the reputake of dopamine... basically the dopamine sits in the synapse for too long and there's loads of it and can't be metabolized by normal means via the COMT enzyme to a lesser extent the MAOI enzyme (obviously there's a lot more going on) so the dopamine is more easily oxidized (by a mechanism that alludes me at the minute) and it further breaks down into various radicals and other nasty shit which damages the myelin sheath of the the axons and dendrites of neurons via oxidative stress or possibly oxidative shielding which is an old evolutionary throwback to the way single celled organisms defended themselves way back when... So far back that Jesus hadn't even invented the dinosaurs yet...

Long story short. Don't believe the hype... but far far more important than this is issue of Liberty. Pursuit of knowledge is life's greatest virtue and I'll be damned if any one tries to stop me... I am in the process of delving deep into Australian law regarding this subject... so many chemicals are restricted... fucking GABA is restricted! L tyrosine and 5HTP are apparently illegal to import! Unless you can prove you need it for a medical condition which I do but that's not the point...

I understand why drug manufacture is illegal... I think it's wrong but I'm not prepared to give up my freedom for it. Iodine, Lithium, red phosphorus, HI, hypo phosphoric acid, phenylalanine, formic acid, methylamine, pretty much anything that scarcely resembles a phenethlyamine and by that I mean a benzene ring with bits on it... Forget organometallics and Grignard reagents... acetic anhydride? Fuck no but what about Metallic hydrides... Nope... Borane? Nope... People are scared to order basic acids and solvents in Australia...

Basically anything useful is vertboten or at least extremely suspicious... well I'm not doing anything wrong and they don't have the right to to harass, intimidate and profile chemists... If they come to my door... and they will... I will co operate but if they fuck with me I will have them fired or worse for vilifying a citizen with a severe disability... the Drs with write thier letters and fuck me does a Psych hold sway in this society...

TLDR

Fuck draconian laws re chemistry. It's not drug cooks that have ruined it for the rest of us... It's the lawmakers and the law enforcers... now if you'll excuse me I have to finish registering my business so I can order some fuck off glassware and order chemicals which may be on a list somewhere... you yanks have it made it seems... at least your laws seem to explicitly outline exactly what you can and can't do...

Straya innit?



[Edited on 1-12-2017 by WangleSpong5000]
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[*] posted on 1-12-2017 at 11:05


Quote: Originally posted by WangleSpong5000  
The fact of the matter is chemistry has a stigma to it. Personally I don't think the problem is drug cooks ruining it for the rest of us, the problem is that the powers that be; and your average ignorant normie civilian


Yeah but in my opinion, it's because of not just the 'drug cooks' (the common person knows that illicit street drugs are made by 'amateur chemists', which I use ambiguously because they are mostly just following a recipe, and is too uneducated to see the differences), but also because of terrorism potential. Think about it, TATP can be made from chemicals found under a lot of kitchen sinks or in garage cupboards, chlorine gas can be made from bleach and a household acid, and reagents commonly used by home chemists can be readily used as weapons. As for that last point, there have been very popular petitions here in the UK for sulphuric and hydrochloric acids to be banned for those who do not hold a license! This has come because of physical attacks on people (albeit extremely rare compared to hit and run, knife crime, and GBH for example), and ignorance on the part of the layperson. Like with drug use in general, harsh legislation comes as a result of the few instances in which people are, or at least have a strong risk of being harmed/killed and the media certainly doesn't help in containing the issue(s) at hand since chemistry related instances are so sparse that they're milked for every penny to be made. From governments' points of view, there is no reason why any old person should be able to obtain 'specialised' chemicals without holding proof that they require it. Acetic anhydride for instance has no use in a domestic setting, nor does lithium aluminium hydride, benzaldehyde, phosphorus, or any of the like, but others like sodium hydroxide, hexamine, toluene, and potassium nitrate do have their domestic uses and are not frowned upon because of that. Governments simply see these regulations as a way to decrease drug/weapon production, because it doesn't affect >90% of the population where the majority of these wouldn't even realise that these bans are in place.

[Edited on 1-12-2017 by LearnedAmateur]




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[*] posted on 1-12-2017 at 12:26


Quote: Originally posted by LearnedAmateur  
Quote: Originally posted by WangleSpong5000  
The fact of the matter is chemistry has a stigma to it. Personally I don't think the problem is drug cooks ruining it for the rest of us, the problem is that the powers that be; and your average ignorant normie civilian


Yeah but in my opinion, it's because of not just the 'drug cooks' (the common person knows that illicit street drugs are made by 'amateur chemists', which I use ambiguously because they are mostly just following a recipe, and is too uneducated to see the differences), but also because of terrorism potential. Think about it, TATP can be made from chemicals found under a lot of kitchen sinks or in garage cupboards, chlorine gas can be made from bleach and a household acid, and reagents commonly used by home chemists can be readily used as weapons. As for that last point, there have been very popular petitions here in the UK for sulphuric and hydrochloric acids to be banned for those who do not hold a license! This has come because of physical attacks on people (albeit extremely rare compared to hit and run, knife crime, and GBH for example), and ignorance on the part of the layperson. Like with drug use in general, harsh legislation comes as a result of the few instances in which people are, or at least have a strong risk of being harmed/killed and the media certainly doesn't help in containing the issue(s) at hand since chemistry related instances are so sparse that they're milked for every penny to be made. From governments' points of view, there is no reason why any old person should be able to obtain 'specialised' chemicals without holding proof that they require it. Acetic anhydride for instance has no use in a domestic setting, nor does lithium aluminium hydride, benzaldehyde, phosphorus, or any of the like, but others like sodium hydroxide, hexamine, toluene, and potassium nitrate do have their domestic uses and are not frowned upon because of that. Governments simply see these regulations as a way to decrease drug/weapon production, because it doesn't affect >90% of the population where the majority of these wouldn't even realise that these bans are in place.

[Edited on 1-12-2017 by LearnedAmateur]


You are right in regards to the issue of terrorism and I have no problem whatsoever when it comes to strict controls on reagents that can be easily used to create high explosives. The IRA got by just fine using ammonium nitrate to fuck shit up. I can't imagine plastic explosives being simple to make and the list of restricted chemicals in Oz relating to explosives consists of things I've never heard of or can be inferred by their nomenclature...

I guess for me this is more about Liberty than anything else. We don't even have free speech in my country... nothing explicitly stated only 'implied' by old connections to the commonwealth. Implied free speech? The true implication in this matter is the fact that it can be taken away at will, and it's happening... and no one cares in Oz...

Chemistry is something I've only got back into very recently and for the first time ever I have the means to do actual chemistry outside of a uni lab and as I fucked that up my meagre home lab is all I've got... and I prefer it if I'm honest! The thing that shits me is just figuring out what ones rights are re chemistry in Oz is almost impossible and no one seems to know including law enforcement and the law makers... I'm beginning to suss it out and and it's doable most definitely.

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[*] posted on 3-12-2017 at 14:03


Those with the knowledge of chemistry should be thankful for the currently limited and generally ineffective regulations!

After all, if I was a dictator who should I fear the most as potentially disseminating knowledge that could change the balance of power for the masses? Teachers, not so much, but does explain there low pay in some countries. Doctors, not likely. Religious leaders, more annoying, but not a direct source of power (they will need many followers). But chemists and even just those with knowledge in the field, now they could present so definite problems.
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