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Author: Subject: r/chemistry Mercilessly Crushes Sciencemadness Member
Texium
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[*] posted on 25-2-2016 at 17:29
r/chemistry Mercilessly Crushes Sciencemadness Member


"I'm a High School Student, Here's a Laboratory I Built in My Basement."

A couple days ago, Zephyr posted a photo gallery of his new lab space (originally posted on SM) on the chemistry subreddit. Almost immediately, he was accused of being a troll and a fake, and there were also many insults hurled at the amateur community in general by supposed professional chemists.

It is true that it would be good for him to rearrange his reagent storage so that it follows the more important chemical storage guidelines (following all of them is virtually impossible for an amateur, as I'm sure most of you would agree). I agree on that point. However, I think that the rest of the the criticism that he received in that reddit thread was completely unwarranted.

So much of it is based purely on speculation and unfamiliarity with the hobby. For example, why do they assume the fume hood doesn't work just because he got a good deal on it? There's no way he'd install a non-working hood and still try to use it. They act like he has no common sense. Also, the accusations that his chemicals are stolen because they are from Sigma are ridiculous. Everyone here knows that you can find all kinds of great deals on nice chemicals like that, whether from eBay, Craigslist, surplus sales or sellers like mario840.

I can personally vouch for Zephyr. I have met him in person and have seen his old lab space. I know he has been working on building his collection of chemicals and equipment for years, and that he had a lot of help from family and friends with building his new lab, installing the fume hood and everything. I've seen pictures throughout the process posted in the Skype group.

The main reason that this response he received bothers me so much is that I know that he is a kind and modest person and was not posting the pictures to get attention or cause a stir. He just wanted to share something that he worked very hard on and was proud of with people he thought would appreciate it. It disgusts me to see the response he received.

To make matters worse, somebody started a parody thread to further mock him and continue the flaming, and it was reffered to r/SubredditDrama where it continued to get (mostly negative) attention. I wanted to post this here to make sure that I'm not going insane, because reading through such a brutal attack against home chemistry has really disheartened me.




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Etaoin Shrdlu
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[*] posted on 25-2-2016 at 18:00


Yeah, I saw that. It made me sad. The superiority circlejerk gets ridiculous in there.

The guy who cried about not wearing safety glasses while taking pictures. Just...painful.

"I can't believe someone gave him oxidizers." Unbelievably stuck-up.

I think they are secretly insecure that amateurs are capable of doing things they needed a degree to comprehend.

EDIT: Also, loved how the whole thread was screeching about how amateurish everything was, then someone got suspicious about the nice reagents and they started jerking about how the whole lab was too professional to be a real amateur project. Amazing.

[Edited on 2-26-2016 by Etaoin Shrdlu]
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[*] posted on 25-2-2016 at 18:21


particularly hard if you met the guy in person and he got clobbered like that by your fellow members.
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[*] posted on 25-2-2016 at 18:35


With all due respect to Zephyr but you have to be very naive to post on Reddit and believe you won't get burnt.

Reddit is troll/flamer paradise, almost as bad a 4chan/8chan.




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[*] posted on 25-2-2016 at 18:43


Quite frankly this is a shame. It is a trend that many of us are aware of, especially those of us who have formal chemistry education as well as practical experience with home chemistry, that a paranoia around chemical safety is increasing with each passing year in academic institutions.

Many high school and even undergraduate labs are being reduced to microscale experiments, experiments which are modified to increase their safety at the cost of decreasing their usefulness, or that are downright replaced with virtual labs, offering no practical experience whatsoever.

Looking around /r/chemistry, it appears that is is mainly a place for questions asked by college students or other relatively short threads which lead nowhere. This is honestly one of the reasons why I enjoy Sciencemadness so much, long running threads such as the potassium, phosphorus, and cyanide threads(though admittedly being somewhat bloated) offer scores of useful information on their topic.

The entire Prepublication subforum is a testament to the advanced chemistry which amateurs can accomplish while circumventing a variety of issues such as limited budgets, restricted access to various chemicals and facilities, and misinformation of the public.

I personally believe that a competent amateur with a good understanding of chemistry, adherence to reasonable safety precautions, and proper waste disposal where necessary can safely carry out a wide variety of advanced experiments with minimal risk to themselves or others around them.

Proper understanding of the true risks of handling various chemicals, and avoiding bringing emotion into it, can provide a reasonable method of determining chemical safety in an unbiased method. Getting an intimate knowledge of the true reactivity of various compounds through practical experience can also be greatly beneficial to overall lab safety; and no amount of reading is a viable substitute for this due to the drastic difference between reading a safety bulletin and actually understanding the true sensitivity of each individual compound.

Some of the comments on those reddit threads illustrate this, anyone with a decent amount of hands on lab experience will realize how utterly ridiculous and over generalized a statement such as the following is "I can't believe someone gave him oxidizers."

Personally I feel that Sciencemadness is by far the most advanced home chemistry forum, in English, on the internet. I add that last qualifier due to the quite remarkable threads on other sites such as versuchschemie.de and lambdasyn.org, both of which I can unfortunately only browse through Google Translate as I don't speak German.




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[*] posted on 25-2-2016 at 18:45


His lab is actually dope AF.

About only reason I'd see for the hate is people assuming that a parent or relative paid for or built everything, and that zephyr took credit for all the work. That happening would potentially be the pretentious shit that society sees to much of.

Bringing me to my next point. Maybe they think he's a pretentious know it all, and needs a slap from real society to realize it. I see those kids in my everyday life, and I'm generally sure a roast on reddit would give them the reality check they deserve.

In any case, the guy's lab is great, and it looks like he has spent a lot of time working and studying to understand everything that goes on down there. I hope he wasn't discouraged and continues to do what he likes.

EDIT: I'm reading the comments and I can't help notice all the points about the reagents (sigma). I've gotten reagents before from analysis labs, by receiving what they call 'expired'. This includes Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Oxalate, and Sodium Nitrite. It takes a few strings to do, but really goes to show that these ACS grade reagents are certainly not limited to the professional world.

[Edited on 26-2-2016 by Great]
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[*] posted on 25-2-2016 at 19:06


This is sad.

I like the fact that we are supportive and accommodating around here. Of course we don't stand for trolling or unsubstantiated bullshit. But if something is reasonable we don't attack the person. "Trust but verify."

zephyr, if you are reading this -- and I expect that you will at some stage, don't let the reddit experience get to you. The flames will die down and few will remember. As it stands, your new lab looks gorgeous. I can't wait until it is up and running.

Of course if you felt that you needed some vindication or validation, you could always start posting some synths on YT. I'd view them. (And learn a bunch in the process I am sure.)




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[*] posted on 25-2-2016 at 19:49


Sad but not unexpected, a much less supportive environment than we have here.



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[*] posted on 25-2-2016 at 19:56


Sadly that is very typical behaviour of immature groups. Usually started by one of the top dogs and then backed up by the followers. Apparently while they are picking on their victim they are content because they are not being picked on. Probably the anonymity and remoteness of the internet makes it worse than face to face.

I have not been in this forum very long but it does seem to be relatively well behaved with the majority of member more interested in the chemistry/science and not nasty social behaviour.
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[*] posted on 25-2-2016 at 20:04


Quote: Originally posted by wg48  
Sadly that is very typical behaviour of immature groups. Usually started by one of the top dogs and then backed up by the followers. Apparently while they are picking on their victim they are content because they are not being picked on. Probably the anonymity and remoteness of the internet makes it worse than face to face.

I have not been in this forum very long but it does seem to be relatively well behaved with the majority of member more interested in the chemistry/science and not nasty social behaviour.


The forum is very forgiving, UNLESS you post an ad for nike shoes, posing as a bot. I know that one from experience, trust me.
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[*] posted on 25-2-2016 at 20:25


I will admit that I am not familiar with this reddit site. The absolute vehemence of the comments is way beyond the pale. It's truly sad to see someone attacked with such uncalled for meanness. Most of the comments looked like they were written by some half-brained first year grad student in a fourth rate university. If you have been around long enough you easily recognize the type.

I have had the privilege of some correspondence with zephyr who I come to think is quite a sharp individual. I wish him all the best and hope that he lets this incident fade into the forgettable past.

The lesson to be learned here is to be discrete about what you post and where you post it.

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biggrin.gif posted on 25-2-2016 at 23:25
Lol


I guess this is how the best legitimate home lab looks like:

https://www.reddit.com/r/chemistry/comments/47n0qb/im_a_uni_...

I am not the author of the thread.
If whoever was banned from Reddit for posting pictures of their lab is reading this, at least they can be comfortable knowing that the lab that a high school student build is superior to the one posted by someone claiming to be a university student.

You have to love the "Ban me" at the bottom of the imgur album.

[Edited on 26-2-2016 by SmellNoEvil]
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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 00:39


Quote: Originally posted by SmellNoEvil  
at least they can be comfortable knowing that the lab that a high school student build is superior to the one posted by someone claiming to be a university student.


it's Tdep's lab, lmao
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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 02:29


Quote: Originally posted by SmellNoEvil  
at least they can be comfortable knowing that the lab that a high school student build is superior to the one posted by someone claiming to be a university student.


with respect, I suggest you be more encouraging of other forum members, particularly as you are clearly quite unqualified (with 5 posts to your name) and have little knowledge of who is whom.

the uni student you are talking about does indeed attend a capital city university in Australia, and is a friend of mine.

He is a regular contributor on the SM forum and proposed and implemented our 2015 Secret Santa which was a great success. He is quite knowledgeable in his area of interest (EM) and posts here for the benefit of others. He also runs his own chemistry youtube channel.

He is very active and well liked by everyone on the Skype SM groups (which are by invitation only) and I am sure zephyr regards him with high esteem.

and on the subject of labs. the state of ones lab (or its physical surroundings may be affected by ones personal situation. I don't even have a lab, but I can still do good chemistry when I collect my thousands of dollars of chemicals, elements and glassware from their respective cupboards and set up the work area in my garage. if I show a photo of my garage it looks like a tip site, but that is my choice.

trolls are unpleasant people, so stop being one




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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 03:07


I guess he didn't smell the shit he was about to step in:D
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Etaoin Shrdlu
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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 11:02


Quote: Originally posted by SmellNoEvil  
https://www.reddit.com/r/chemistry/comments/47n0qb/im_a_uni_...

I see they feel bad.
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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 15:08


Things like this are the main reason I don't have a Reddit account. Don't let the haters get to you, Zephyr.



As below, so above.
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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 15:09


Look at this gold:

"Synthetic Chemists above all, really fucking hate amateur Synthetic Chemists..."- A "Synthetic Chemist". I'm glad Zephyr's lab had an unbiased review.

"Getting called out and ridiculed for lying/making stuff up is so common it should be in all Synthetic Chemistry job descriptions."- This probably is this poster's "job" description.

"3 years full time at University level will make you just about able to suck at doing Synthesis, and when I say suck at Synthesis, I mean barely competent"- What a shame. It took this poor guy at least three years to be barely competent with chemistry. At least he can judge with experience.

" no safety glasses on whilst taking photos" This shocked me :( . I have been carelessly handling a dangerous photographic device without the necessary safety precautions for years!

"Christ, anybody who's done work experience in a regulated lab would suffer a heart attack knowing this place exists."-I hope this guy had medical insurance.

Zephyr should take all these accusations of being a fake as a compliment. You have equipment "that no student can get a hold of" and are clearly a professional just trolling according to them.

-Edited due to wily quotation marks-



[Edited on 26-2-2016 by TheAlchemistPirate]




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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 15:33


If I recall correctly, we only had to wear googles when chemistry was being performed in class lab. It's an awesome lab. Don't let anyone get you down!

-Edited For Punctuation-


[Edited on 26-2-2016 by Rocksinboxes]
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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 15:58


Quote: Originally posted by TheAlchemistPirate  

"Christ, anybody who's done work experience in a regulated lab would suffer a heart attack knowing this place exists."-I hope this guy had medical insurance.



Dear G-d. Very few professional chemists, 'regulated lab' or not, would think that.




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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 16:01


One thing that has been overlooked is that the space is not complete yet. He is still fitting it out. The sink is yet to be done for example. Why anyone even mentions safety glasses under the circumstances is quite beyond me.

I have not been able to read much of the reddit -- access is prohibited at work and I did not persevere much with my phone. There have been so many edits and deletions that it is just about as meaningless as alphabet soup.

Mean and meaningless is not really a potent combination. I would not take any of this to heart, Zephyr. I also would not be hanging around on reddit gain either.




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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 16:20


@Zephyr
Awesome lab.

The Fume hood looks very Pro. I want one like that but bigger so i can sleep in it.

@/r/chemwotever
Complete bunch of arseholes with the imagination of a turd and the manners of another turd that the first turd rejected, saying the second turd had the manners of a turd.

It was a brave experiment to try to engage with that website's population.

Sadly this kind of reaction happens when you offer a group of people something for free.

Call it Human 'Chemistry' and move on.

Lab: did very good indeed.

Analyse and engage with wankers : did bad.

Oh ! Be sure you say 'Safety' a lot so you sound credible if yo want to make $.
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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 16:25


Quote: Originally posted by TheAlchemistPirate  

"Synthetic Chemists above all, really fucking hate amateur Synthetic Chemists..."- A "Synthetic Chemist".


The priesthood feels threatened - a common theme throughout history. :(




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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 16:36


I've done business with Zephyr twice---quite pleasant both times, and both orders included lagniappe. Watch out for the h8rs Zeph, they WILL call the cops. Its happened to me. (Wheres yer meth lab, buddy? Happened in Nevada as old hands here outa remember)



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[*] posted on 26-2-2016 at 16:46


Quote: Originally posted by Magpie  

The priesthood feels threatened - a common theme throughout history. :(


How do we know any of these w*nkers are real chemists? I like to think they're not! :)




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