Saturday, June 03, 2006

Weird Science

Interesting collection of links from Joanne Jacobs on the disappearance of chemistry sets and hands-on at-home lab experimentation among young people, due to the worrisome advent of federal intervention.

This is of increased personal interest to the Opinionated Homeschooler* as we are already at the stage where she has to sidle furtively up to the pharmacists' booth at CVS and ask where they keep "alum ... and powdered sulfur ... oh and (glancing at index card) tincture of iodine, if you have any, please."

My dad used to make his own fireworks as a kid, and grew up to be a chemical engineer working at Los Alamos Nat'l Labs. There's no way a kid would be allowed to mess around with those kinds of chemicals these days. Which reminds me, check out The Radioactive Boy Scout; a funny and yet sobering tale of hyper-boyish chem-kit tinkering. (The article's been made into a book.)

*The Opinionated Homeschooler is toying with blog-reader C.'s third-person perspective. A little pretentious, don't you think?


Blogger Darwin said...

Ah, the glories of '50s era "boy scientist" sets. My brother and I took home a bunch of such things from my grandparents house back when we were being homeschooled. Great stuff like a chemistry kit that included making gun powder as one of its first experiments and a mineral collection that included uranium ore.

Of course, there I suppose there are good reasons not to have these around any more. My younger brother eventually ground up the uranium ore sample and snuck it into a cookie which he gave to me. This, I imagine, explains a great deal about my later life...

8:53 AM  

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