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Author Topic: The Decline of Home Chemistry  (Read 55947 times)

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AfromOz

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #45 on: December 27, 2006, 08:04:21 AM »

Tell me about it.

I'll give the Bunsen burner another 5 years MAX in Australian schools. :-[

Educate? They just want safety. All it takes is for some dumb kid to get a burn and I have to fill out a 3 page incident report. Some parents then ask for the hazard assessment for the experiment - which takes ages to write.

So, more and more teachers are simply saying, "NO".

At a recent lab tech conference, many lab techs refuse to handle copper sulfate now.

Someone forgot to tell them not to drink it.

Banned chemicals end up chez moi.

Cheers,

Adam
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Borek

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #46 on: December 27, 2006, 10:12:13 AM »

From what I read on CHEMED-L same tendency is observed in US.  It becomes more and more absurd. We will regret effects in about 20-30 years IMHO.
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mafiaparty303

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #47 on: December 29, 2006, 08:15:47 AM »

that thing is whack!

"if you have a lab you are either a criminal or a crackpot" what are they talking about??? All those chemists back in like.. a long time ago used their own stuff like alchemists, and they discovered pretty useful things and now the gov. is telling us that only they are the really established people to conduct experiments!



and "No normal person would have whatever whatever"

Then i hope everyone that has that whatever whatever is proud of themselves for not being a "normal person"


tsk tsk what is this world coming to....
?



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billnotgatez

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2006, 06:09:35 PM »

A while ago I saw a new trend in education. Instead of doing labs high school students would watch labs being done on video. The idea was that then the school would not be liable for errors by students or teachers. This video company was in the process of getting this accepted by state school authorities. They were also showing that it was cheaper to do videos than have actual labs. This was very convincing since most schools have tight budgets and labs tend to be more costly than lecture. No more dropping 50 gram weights on your toe by mistake during physics labs. No more cutting your self during a dissection in biology. No more teachers catching schools on fire with chemistry demonstrations. The choice according to the Video Company was clear. Since more and more schools were dropping labs that were considered dangerous, that this way is better. It is better to see the lab than not see it at all.

The corollary to this is obvious. No one needs to do chemistry at home since you can see it on video. Anyone who does have chemicals is up to no good.

I reject this, but those who do are in a minority.


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woelen

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #49 on: December 30, 2006, 06:23:58 AM »

The Decline of Secondary Chemistry

Have been teaching chemistry in Australia for over 10 years.

Each year, I see more chemicals and experiments banned due to potential hazards.

If it continues in this manner, it won't be long before a lab "experiment" will consist of the kids sitting in their chairs with seatbelts and safety glasses watching someone dissolving sodium chloride into tepid water on a DVD. ::)

Cheers,

Adam
Over here in the Netherlands, experimenting also is banned from many schools. The pupils still see the experiments, but they may not do them themselves anymore. A specially educated practical assistant does the experiments and the pupils may watch the experiments. It is sad that they are not allowed anymore to do the experiments themselves.

A few months ago, in  one school over here, some white P (a few grams) catched fire and that gives a dense cloud of P4O10. The practical assistant could confine the fire himself and nothing special happened. All pupils left the room without any ill effect. But nevertheless, it was a NATIONAL news item, where the horrors of chemistry were discussed in great detail. After this incident, a group of safety experts/consultants has analysed the risk-situation in that school, and of course a 100+ page report was written about this. Starting from this, there was a discussion about how the risks can be further reduced, now also practical assistents sometimes make mistakes.
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Borek

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #50 on: December 30, 2006, 06:52:48 AM »

We are getting weak as community, We are less and less ready to agree to the fact that there are things that can't be done without risk. You can't win a war without casualties, you can't become a carpenter without risking your fingers, you can't become chemist without taking some risks on the way. We are not accepting it and that's stupid.

To quote REM: It's the end of the world as we know it
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P-man

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #51 on: December 30, 2006, 06:55:44 AM »

Fortunatly here in Canada we are still allwoed to do experiments in school. I used to go to an alternative private school for elementary and we didn't have a lab. However we had a study block on inorganic chemistry. Basically what happened was we turned our classroom into a lab. Sulphuric acid, phosphorous, everything. The floor had quite a few red marks by the end of the three weeks.

And we are allowed to buy glassware. There's a shop here I go to that's good for glassware but they don't have any chemicals. And it seems that chemicals are getting harder and harder to get. Luckily I got a collection from my old teacher but I am going to need to buy some more. So it seems I am going to have to turn to the Internet to get my new supply.
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mafiaparty303

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #52 on: December 30, 2006, 03:05:04 PM »

Here in California we do labs as well but our principal is too stupid, instead of buying supplies for school he goes out and builds a football stadium, and the sad thing is, only what, i dont know anything about the NFL only like 30 highschool students out of all the highschools in america get choosen to do anytnhing with the pros... ya well last time i checked the other million highschoolers are getting into science and all those other subjects, I do think that school supplies is a lot more important then investing in nothing with a stupid football stadium.

Anyone agree?
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constant thinker

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #53 on: December 30, 2006, 03:08:21 PM »

We still do lots of labs. Probably 1/2 of them involve mainly just dissolving and burning relatively benign chemicals. We have worked with concentrated acids and bases multiple times though. The honors classes do the good labs. The other chemistry classes for the most part work with extremely dilute acids/bases and sugar.

We've had mishaps (excluding the occasional destruction of test tubes and beakers), but they taken care of efficiently.
The teacher knocked over a bottle of concentrated sulfuric acid (in the fume hood). The teacher reacted it with lots of sodium bicarbonate. The causalities were 2 lab books.
Another time a pipette got squeezed (it was a cheap plastic thing that is only good for holding small amounts of liquids or transferring liquids), and glacial acetic acid hit another kid on the other side of the lab bench in the forehead. The teacher responded immediately, and the kid only had a nice red line on his forehead that has since dissapeared.
The most recent mishap of the was when some unknown powders (we were doing a powder identification lab, I got iodine all over my hand) caught on fire release some black smoke that turned part of our ceiling black, but an open window cleared that up.

My point here is accidents happen, but if the teacher is ready for them, and the students are educated in what to do, any mishaps are really just minor problems. We always where aprons and safety goggles.

P.S. American football is awesome, but I would have to say education does come first.
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dzoys

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #54 on: June 25, 2008, 01:40:17 PM »

It sure is hard to separate urban myth type of stories from the real thing.

On the other hand, the postulate that “If I'm an innocent person who is doing nothing illegal, then I should have no worries from the law” seems naive.



exactly what the government wants the citizen to believe when they passed the patriot act.
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Christxu

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #55 on: December 22, 2009, 02:14:14 AM »

Do you think it is time to stop taxing ethanol? ??? ??? ???
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typhoon2028

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #56 on: December 22, 2009, 10:06:57 AM »

I on the fence with this topic.

On one hand, I worry about people having unlimited access to any chemical without oversight.  Explosives are not my main concern.  I am more worried about contamination to the water supply.  Small towns are just not equipped to handle some chemicals.

The other hand.  I don't want the government to keep tabs on me.  The government or anyone should not be able to collect and store data on me without my consent.  That violates my right to privacy.
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skyjumper

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #57 on: January 12, 2010, 12:04:44 PM »

My parents are convinced I will "make a bomb" because I want to get some beakers and basic reagents off of the internet. They are scared they will LOSE THERE HOUSE because the government aparently does that if they find so much as a beaker out of a "real" chemistry lab. Being a department aid, my days consist of such tasks as demonstrating ALKALINE EARTH metals (because sodium or lithium is WAY to dangerous), but ask my mom! Im going to blow my face off from dropping a couple mG of calcium into a large beaker. Mixing concentrated acids and bases so that the kids do not need to handle the pure caustic chemicals is another aspect of my day. She is irate that the school even provides such a chemical. People don't realize that in a high school, the safety precautions are great, fume hoods, basic and acidic solutions ready to immediately neutralize a spill.

I try to explain to them that what I do in a fully stocked chemistry lab is safe, antecedents do happen but we are prepared. They also lack the comprehension of home chemistry as a non bomb making activity (Thanks FOX, and CNN.), things like when the news says "A High explosive... IN YOUR HOUSE! 2 COMMON chemicals mixed." Yeah, just like sodium which has the bad habit of blowing the hell up on contact with water (you know what I mean) and chlorine, you know that poison gas, make salt. Oh and iodine which is always used to make a bomb is added to that salt, because your body needs it.

I believe that with out every single American taking a genuine lab based chemistry class, we will always be a dieing breed of people. Those who are not simply satisfied with a statement in a text book, and a youtube video done by a professional, but those who wish to learn hands on, and get real life knowledge to boot.   

Slowly but surly I am breaking through to them. It will be a while. She says she doesnt want me "doing chemistry behind her back" because she left me so many other options.
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scratfin

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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #58 on: January 15, 2010, 02:13:20 PM »

Well, I'm certainly not surprised by these laws. These drug dealers and hoodlums are too much trouble. Still, it's a relatively strong argument on the government's side. Really, from the people here I would expect that only a small handful handle advanced toxic or corrosive chemicals. Then we look at the drug making/dealing side and I expect there are many more people like that (probably not on this website). Simply put it: our government is more concerned about protecting people even if it means a few less genius minds.
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Re: The Decline of Home Chemistry
« Reply #59 on: January 15, 2010, 09:32:56 PM »

Simply put it: our government is more concerned about protecting people even if it means a few less genius minds.

That is a pretty picture.

When you look at the knowledge of your average lawmaker, they come from backgrounds that know nothing about science.  And since their goal is to get reelected, the real goal of all politicians; they need to PRETEND to be protecting people.  How best to do this then to 'regulate' things that the vast great unwashed consider scary, like toxic or corrosive chemicals.  It does not matter that while unregulated these materials never caused any harm (ok, granted an incident or two now and again) but where things that statistically cause more harm (like swimming pools) are left unchecked.  Not that pools should be regulated, just that they need to be passing feel-good legislation that hurts as small a group as possible as to not loose too many votes, but at the same time to appear to be increasing safety to the rest of society, to gain more votes.  Home chemists are just one group that get the short end of the stick here, homosexuals, gun owners, all have been victims to politics like these, and as has been seen the only way to protect ones freedom is to have enough of the discriminated group to be a major political force, or to somehow change how politics works.
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