Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ephemera 1/2/2008

- Why knots happen. The other day I set down my MP3 player headphones near the power chords to the family's cell phones; 5 freakin' minutes later when I went to grab it, it was so tangled in them it took a minute to free it.

- Top 100 Science Stories. Lotsa cool stuff.

- Man, if this isn't dead-on: 50 Things Men Wish You [women] Knew. Being a guy, I can't vouch for the women's list.

- If you didn't get enough of this oddly compulsive activity in during the holidays, here ya go.

- This guy reduced 8 films down to a graphic comprised of 1 frame per second of film. Doesn’t result in much of anything stirring or useful, but still a tad interesting.

- I finally had to cave and buy the now-illegal pseudophederine (Sudafed) for one of my babies who had a cold during the holidays, and sure enough, I had to sign the FBI form and give them all my personal information to do so. I grumbled at the pharmacist that I knew it wasn't her fault and such, but back when Ronnie Raygun ratcheted up Nixon's drug war, I knew this would be one of the eventual results. My fellow 'Mericans - enough of this shite already. Let's lean on our govt. to end this silliness.


Anonymous said...

A couple months ago I made the first political donation of my life: I gave money to NORML.

Which probably won't directly help the sudafed situation, meth panic being what it is nowadays, but eventually people should come around. Eventually.


Yahmdallah said...

Let us hope.

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

You probably know this from my blog, but I order chemicals for my homeschooled daughter's chemistry lessons (she's big into chemistry; gets it from her granddad, a retired Los Alamos chemical engineer). There aren't a lot of places that sell chemicals in very small quantities, and I have two places I order from. One order was quite delayed, and when it arrived it had been opened, re-sealed, and had a government sticker on it I didn't recognize. So I assume I'm on some list now.

I also discovered that in Texas, at least, the traditional glass chemistry apparatus is classified as "drug paraphernalia," and if you own any you are supposed to register with the Texas Department of Public Safety. I asked around a bit, and the general advice of other homeschooling parents with avid chemists at home is to shut up about it and not get your kid on some list so that when the State Trooper pulls them over for speeding at 17 their name won't pop up on the computer with the words "drug paraphernalia" nearby.

I'm sure you know about the New Mexico couple who sold chemicals strictly to science teachers, and who got busted by the feds: the husband went out one morning for the paper and the next thing he's on the ground in handcuffs with guns pointing at him. They didn't even pretend it was for anything other than his mail-order chemical business.

So in case you were wondering about the following factoids: (1) why you can't get a kid's chemistry set that has anything other than baking soda, litmus paper, and a few useless plastic test tubes; and (2) why the number of chemistry majors has dropped by two thirds (yes) since the 1960's.


Yahmdallah said...

I wasn't aware of that angle because we got a chemistry set for our eldest a couple years back, and it has a HUGE asst. of chemicals. The instructions are so complex, my wife and I can't figure them out. It's written like a college textbook.

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Glad to hear you got a decent one! Really, all you need is a reasonably wide assortment of chemicals and some basic equipment, and then any set of instructions will do. Try here for a more usable instruction book:

For more chemicals and equipment, try Home Science Tools.