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Author: Subject: ChemPlayer the story and the end for now
chemplayer...
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[*] posted on 23-6-2016 at 08:53
ChemPlayer the story and the end for now


In December 2014 a recently acquired friend and I were walking around a very unusual part of a very unusual city and discovered a shop selling hundreds of jars of strange chemicals and lots of interesting glassware. At the time we were both somehow struck by this sight, but didn't think much of it.

A few weeks later we were coming to terms with our life situation; both posted into living in an unusual place with some part time contract work which would conveniently support our low cost living expenses, but which would also give us lots of time to kill. We had a crazy idea; let's go back and buy some things, and start teaching ourselves how to do experiments in the spare kitchen. We were both feeling intrigued, so why the hell not? Let's PLAY!

We'd both had chemistry sets as kids and loved them. One of us defected and became an IT and design guru. The other one of us (me, who does most of the talking and is the chem-techy one) went into something health and medicine related.

We started off small, a few bits of glassware which didn't fit together, some test tubes (which we rarely used), some beakers, flasks, a liebig condenser (which did miraculously fit with our other glass). Sodium hydroxide, acids, ethanol, dichloromethane, salts like potassium iodide and ferrocyanide, a rare find of some sodium metal... and so on.

We learned about glass joints, joint grease, pH paper, aquarium pumps, silicone rubber tubes, moles, molarity, gases, liquids etc...

The main point though was that our first few experiments failed horribly. We realised that practical chemistry is an art form par excellence. Chemicals feel your respect and timidity. Like the east-side punk-haired but cute redhead bargirl who can intuitively detect your advances, with the out-of-the-blue snapppy sassy "back in your shoes buddy" attitude back. We learned that chemicals are strange creatures, not just in their appearance, colour and properties, but that their willingness to participate in a reaction depended largely on their own respect for you and whether they felt like it that day. "What do you mean you didn't clean and dry the flask for me? F*** YOU!"

And learn it we tried. First time picking up a DIY chemistry set in decades. Lots of basic reactions, no idea what the products were, no real way to check and purify, no real way to understand what was going on. Many things didn't even react, even when we were following the procedures in the books exactly. Even if we got a product, what is it? How can we tell?

Over time though we persevered and started to understand a little bit, and in return receive respect back from mother nature. Our 5 times previously attempted (and failed) mononitrotoluene reaction now worked perfectly every time. Occasionally if we were too lazy and didn't leave it in the ice for the full 40 minutes after the reaction it would come back and heat back up spontaneously to 60 degrees and create a cloudy product; almost just as a little indication to let us know that it was now willing to work with us, but that the relationship dynamic hadn't changed; she was still the boss.

Given that neither of us are professional chemists by trade or training, we saw this as an inevitable but familiar little game that would continue. The chemicals played 'hard to get'. We tried to seduce them. We gave our best behaviour; the chemicals tricked us up and failed. We gave them respect but cooly, played coy, oozed nonchalence and tried not to expose our anxiety, and occasionally we ended up on dates; the reactions worked!

Soon everything that was coming out of book instructions we followed worked. Even the fabled hyrazine from bleach reaction. That took us 8 attempts before we found the process in the video. Hydrazine is a prima-donna! She will suss you out the second you add that first drop of urea solution into the beaker; at that exact moment she's eyed you up and down and worked out whether she'll tease you before forming crystals, delay formation until in the fridge, or just whether she'll decompose right there and then in a tantrum with a nitrogen foam geyser. Sometimes though she's an unpredictably good girl and crystallises even before you've finished your sulfuric acid addition; if she's tired and doesn't want any more bullshit, and if she totally trusts you.

Then 3 months into our project we wanted to get more ideas of what to do. So we started watching YouTube and low and behold, lots of amazing crazy videos out there of people performing chemistry. UC235 was our first discovery; the real experimenter, better equipment than us, interesting and complex reactions, but admirably still the 'alpha-chemist' - we could see more than anything that the atoms and molecules respected this individual. We tried his reactions and they failed to start with. The chemicals laughed in our face! Then we discovered NurdRage and were blown away by the variety and breadth and how long he's been going; respect the time commitment! Of course, time in the market corresponds to 'clicks' in the market. He will do well. Then we found others like Doug's Lab whom we loved because of the great explanations, and also the very human side of his character and presentation. Nile Red has the best lighting and smoothest production, and we've been continually inspired by that.

So we thought, why not give it a go. Let's document our journey through this adventure in the same way that they have. A camera, tripod, cheap LED lighting (with remote control) were arranged and we created our first video ensuring we were working only with the chemical stars with whom we had the best relationships and least politics. Nitration of toluene was born as our first video. Our editing skills were still infantile at best but it made it up - our first YouTube video in May 2015.

But that said, Blender gave us our intro sequence after 3 days of playing around with it. A midi-enabled Roland JV80 powered by an old school Amiga500 running NoiseTracker with 8 bit samples gave us the opening sequence tune. Lightworks gave us our first strung together video with 'Lisa' providing the voiceover.

With 10 or so videos out within a few months we had 100 subscribers! We thought this wasn't bad. Fellow nurds rejoice!

But then came our first HR issue. Lisa was from the Beaudrillard school of thinking; she wanted to rebel against such unreality and simulacrum. She didn't like our satirical humour. She left and we hired her friend - Lisa B, a slightly more dry and cynical and suitable character. Where Lisa would have stormed out, Lisa B just accetuated her dry and satirical side. It worked well.

We bought ground glass adapters, a proper aquarium pump for distillation water, tubes, a vacuum pump, and lots of other little things. We now had a lab to be reckoned with!

So we set to work. The rest of course is history apart from our occasional adventure into food or soap-making or biodiesel, or some other random topic. Anhydrous aluminium chloride was a revelation and the thing which opened up so many different doors for us. Likewise, having relatively pure alkali cyanide also meant we could make mandelic acid, malonic acid, and other 'unreachable' compounds. Again, with the same disrespect/respect earn it and slowly get there process.

It was very great fun, but more importantly educational. Having peered over so many papers and documents trying to work them out and find out if my substrate X will react, I certainly picked up a lot of knowledge and understanding of reaction pathways, what the patterns of conditions which allow / prevent certain reactions are, etc. An abstract and very differently structured body of knowledge to what I'd previous been exposed to. But visualisation is everything; if your mind tends to work and remember in pictures, and if you can visualise molecules, you will be fine. Synthetic chemists must be strongly visual, but with enough emotional intelligence to understand the world of themselves, their helpers, the chemicals, and the reactions all fitting together. Respect is results.

So we kept on making videos. We always had three policies for the videos. First, make them clear so that anyone watching could replicate if they wanted by seeing what everything looked like exactly close up in detail; this also led to our flashing text - all reagents, solvents, agents, etc. are specified with unambiguous purity or concentration detail.

Secondly, that we would not for the sake of it attempt to make anything which could detonate or explode. Others claim to be experts, we're not. We don't want to kill ourselves. In our strange secret island enclave, explosives are considered more illicit than many class 1 presursors for instance. No point in taking any risks.

Thirdly, that we would not make anything 'harmful'. Drugs! Everyone wants drugs! This is what we soon learned - man you should see our inbox! We also realised that we lived in a world where legislations contradict safety rules, where safety rules contradict practical and empirical considerations, and where classifications link back to politics, appearance, and even demographics with no regard for safety. So we decided on our own independent assessment - directly illegal class A substances are out of bounds. Analogues which from our research we believe to be physiologically ineffective we could try to produce. After all, the fun in making the reaction work is still there! We'd never eat anything that came out of one of our flasks!

So we did barbituric acid, chelidamic acid, piperidine, an analogue of cathinone using piperidine, an inactive isomer of quaalude, hydantoin, and even good old chlorbutol. To this day we've never eaten any of them! We purchased PCl3 in a large glass bottle using cash in hand and no questions asked. That was an interesting walk home to the secret island base with a carrier bag containing 500ml of PCl3 in.

We then shifted and wanted to do lots of 'classic' reactions which were mentioned out there but which very few practical details were available. So came our 'experimental' channel trying out weird and wonderful ways to make different things. Acetyl chloride from acetonitrile perhaps?

Then food - how to make cake, how cake is chemistry, tiramisu, soap making, bio-diesel, and how to cook steak - chemistry shows you the perfect way...

Finally Zira came on board as our narrator and has grown secret admirers steadily.

But now to the crunch.

We've done ~160 videos, with some yet to be released, and we have a long list of future idea ones, but there's a catch. The transient conditions which brought us together in this place with the right time are now dissolving. One of us needs to move 8000km away, and the other about 12000km away. Jobs are what they are and so this is our economic reality. Time is shortly to run out for the ChemPlayer project.

As of August 2016 we will bid you farewell. Our equipment will be safely stored and protected. We will depart around the world again, and as and when the opportunity to revive comes up we will do so. Maybe 6 months, maybe 6 years. But we have agreed that we will be back for ChemPlayer Season 2 one day. We've had too much fun and learnt too much not to try this again. The patterns and knowledge that we've learned are also surprisingly applicable to a lot of other fields, even to our normal day jobs. Chemistry is truly not a bad subject to get you thinking about the real world after all.

Many people have donated to us using Patreon and for this we are incredibly humbled and grateful. As a result you will have all received the ChemPlayer index for the first 100 videos; we will now expand this to all videos in the sequence as a reference, and you will all be first on the mailing list! We will also explain in an up and coming video what we're doing with the Patreon money (if the US let us have it via our array of offshore banking obfuscation) - we think you will be impressed and happy with our plan. Watch out for that.

We started this project with nothing. We now feel like we've got a little way towards somewhere. But the truth is that anyone could do this, with the right time, place, and dedication,

ChemPlayer plans to return.
Stay tuned.









Watch some vintage ChemPlayer: https://www.bitchute.com/channel/chemplayer/
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[*] posted on 23-6-2016 at 09:53


Sniff.

It is lovely to get a bit more of the back story, but I really cannot comprehend that you are departing - even if it is temporary. I don't think you can comprehend how valuable (and entertaining) your videos have been.
Please at least make an appearance on SM from time to time.




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NEMO-Chemistry
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[*] posted on 23-6-2016 at 10:37


I am a noob and your video's have made chemistry accessible for me. I am slowly following some of them and teaching myself chemistry (with help here also).

Thank you for doing the video's and thank you for not concentrating on bangs and things to ingest, some of us are not interested in this type of thing.

Money wise what ever you were donated you earnt, it's a shame your having a break but you do what you gotta do.

So from me a simple thank you, you have helped a youngster become interested in science.
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[*] posted on 23-6-2016 at 11:50


It's Internet Dude ! Worldwide !

You ain't going nowhere.

I tried leaving once. Lasted a few milliseconds.

Welcome to the Hotel California.

"you can check out any time you like but you can never leave"




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[*] posted on 23-6-2016 at 11:55


Wow. Quite a good bit of work you've done, good luck in your new life. Hoping to see more eventually though, as you had a wonderful first run!
Cheers!




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[*] posted on 23-6-2016 at 12:49


Loved your videos. Will miss them......
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[*] posted on 23-6-2016 at 13:06


The way you talk about chemistry... It makes me want to learn it so much more.
I would have never guessed any of you didnt have prior experience...
I cannot say im your oldest fan or the bigfest fan, but its really sad you are stopping chemistry, and your videos. :(
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[*] posted on 23-6-2016 at 14:01


RIP in spaghetti, never forghetti.

We shall joyously await your Second Coming.
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[*] posted on 23-6-2016 at 16:46


Aga, ever the philosopher is correct. It's a small world these days. We will be around and scheming for 'season 2'.



Watch some vintage ChemPlayer: https://www.bitchute.com/channel/chemplayer/
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[*] posted on 23-6-2016 at 18:34


Quote: Originally posted by chemplayer...  
Aga, ever the philosopher is correct. It's a small world these days. We will be around and scheming for 'season 2'.


Your name shall forever remain an awesome legend. You are essentially the Alexander Hamilton of the current online home chemistry era. Maybe they'll even start to place your name on future glassware. We all await your Second Coming, that's for sure.




Check out the ScienceMadness Wiki: http://www.sciencemadness.org/smwiki/index.php/Main_Page

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[*] posted on 23-6-2016 at 18:50
AHHHHHH NOOOOOOO


It can't be, I just found out about your channel a month ago and I've watched almost every video. I even did you methyl iodide synthesis. Then I was checking every day to see if you uploaded something new. Why must it be this way :(
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[*] posted on 24-6-2016 at 10:16


You are all bringing tears to our eyes :(

But be happy. Know that we are moving onto other things. Our disappearance is just an illusion as we move out your sphere of visibility, but be reassured that we'll be applying the same CP philosophy wherever we are...




Watch some vintage ChemPlayer: https://www.bitchute.com/channel/chemplayer/
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[*] posted on 24-6-2016 at 12:29


Wow. I don't have much to say other than thank you. For all you have done to inspire and help new chemists.

I was always blown away from the relaxed atmosphere you were able to create in your videos (something you kind of have in common with explosions&fire), and by how different and in-depth they were. I am quite speechless and can't think of a good way to thank you for all your work, so I'll cut it short and say that you will be missed.

One question before you leave this comunity: where did you learn all this chemistry? Some of that organic chemistry seemed pretty advanced, I always tought you were university students, but now you're telling me that you are just some guys who found a shop and started playing with chemicals?

A small sidenote: watching your videos I started to wonder who the mysterious chemist behind this was: I always tought you were either chinese or french, and up until now I also tought that you were from some sort of university lab, (even though you did mention you were in a kitchen). I just tought you might find my small fan-theory interesting.
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[*] posted on 24-6-2016 at 15:01


I'm posting to echo the general sentiment of those replying. You did great work and your efforts really did have an impact on (at least my own) practical academic progression. I started following you not long after you first began releasing videos and have watched through the majority of them in that time. The thing that made your content stand out most was how much new(i.e. not reactions that had already been published by other youtubers) and synthetically useful content you released.

As much as I enjoy nurdrage, extractions&ire, dougs lab, etc. I reckon you've been far and away the best content producer on youtube for chemistry over the last 2 years.
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[*] posted on 24-6-2016 at 15:39


It's simple : you are Wanted, therefore cannot just Go.



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[*] posted on 24-6-2016 at 19:03


oh the drama, but like you're utuber. thanks
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[*] posted on 25-6-2016 at 01:54


What a sad day. You have most certainly raised the bar in Youtube chemistry. You're also shown how popular more 'pure' chemistry videos can be. No explosions or long running synthetic targets, yet the chemistry alone (as well as the wit that always leaked through the voice over) was interesting enough to bring thousands of subscribers. I feel you'll have a knock on effect, with less kewl channels and more interesting organic chemistry channels being formed.

Really enjoyed having you guys around, hope you have a presence online still, handing out wisdom both here and a voice of authority in the youtube comment section.

If you're packing up, i'd love for you to post in the Tour My Lab thread. I'd love to see what you guys worked with. I think I remember you saying you worked on just a very small section of bench. I'm sure i'm not the only one who'd appreciate seeing some shots that are more zoomed out than usual.

All the best for the future, I shall always be waiting for the second coming!
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[*] posted on 25-6-2016 at 02:18


Really sad news, your videos have been outstanding, You'll leave a void in the YouTube and SM chemistry community that can't be filled. All the best for the future chemplayer
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[*] posted on 25-6-2016 at 03:14


Thanks Tom. As of this point you are the only person in the world with possession of official CP merchandise!

We'll be around...




Watch some vintage ChemPlayer: https://www.bitchute.com/channel/chemplayer/
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[*] posted on 25-6-2016 at 03:38


I shall treasure the merchandise well.
Or split it up and sell it on eBay for a extreme premium, I haven't decided yet
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[*] posted on 25-6-2016 at 14:40


Welp, I only discovered your channel a few months ago, but it was amazing. I find it sad that you will be unable to continue for now, but one can hope that 6 months is a closer estimate than 6 years. I hope you have good jobs, and that you succeed. Until your rebirth, we await. crying into our glassware.
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[*] posted on 6-7-2016 at 06:35


This is my very first post (after lurking for months), and it turns out to be a sad one :(

You guys have been an absolute inspiration to a complete beginner. Whilst I understand only too well how "life gets in the way", it is still a Very Sad Day.

You set a new standard for YT videos: clear, concise, no "wool" or blather, I can't praise them enough. And they are funny too !

I second aga: you cannot leave!




Wandering around in the universe of HaventGottaClue...
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[*] posted on 7-7-2016 at 10:33


Love will bring us together.



Signature ==== Is this my youtube page? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tA5PYtul5aU
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[*] posted on 9-7-2016 at 23:31


I sincerely will miss your videos for the hiatus. Luckily I haven't watched all of them, so I have the rest to look forward too.

It always amazed me how you answered so many questions I wondered about casually, but couldn't test myself.




"Damn it George! I told you not to drop me!"
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sad.gif posted on 15-7-2016 at 08:20


NOOOO...

I think I speak for all you subscribers in saying that you have been a great source of inspiration for many. You were one of those, among others, who really got me into chemistry, organic chem in particular. So with that, I thank you for your incredible contributions.

You will be missed, but never forgotten. Thank you so much! :(

[Edited on 15-7-2016 by CRUSTY]




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