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Education Science

Anti-Terrorism and the Death of the Chemistry Set 860

An anonymous reader writes "A recent unfortunate casualty of anti-terrorism laws is the home chemistry set. Once deemed the gift that saved Christmas, most Slashdotters probably remember early childhood experimentation with one of the many pre-packaged chemistry sets that were on the market. Unfortunately the FBI has decided that home chemistry sets are a threat to national security and they are rapidly disappearing from the market entirely. Those that remain are shallow boring versions of the old kits."
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Anti-Terrorism and the Death of the Chemistry Set

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  • options (Score:5, Informative)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @10:07PM (#21191779) Homepage Journal
    The death of a certain type of chemistry set. There are a pretty wide number of sets available [] including the specific kit mentioned in TFA (Chem C3000 []) and the reviews there both mention the difficulty in gathering some of the materials necessary to doing the expirements. I don't think it is just terrorism though. Terrorism, a litigious society, the war on drugs - I think any one alone would have probably been enough, and we've got all three.

    I wonder if this might signal an opportunity for some entrepeneur to develop a virtual chem lab. It's not exactly the same, but at least it would give kids an opportunity to learn and explore. It could also offer features you wont find in any real chemistry set. Nice graphics showing what is going on on a much lower level. A virtual professor to help out and explain. Tools and materials that are too expensive or that really would be too dangerous.
  • by ayelvington ( 718605 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @10:10PM (#21191793) Journal
    Check out [] and build your own. Amazing stuff your mother wouldn't let you have. a
  • Amateur Rocketry RIP (Score:5, Informative)

    by SirDrinksAlot ( 226001 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @10:23PM (#21191879) Journal
    Amateur Rocketry is now dead too. I remember going out to pick up a couple engines and found out about the new (impending) restrictions. The government pretty much handed the terrorists their victory and hobby science is one of the victims.
  • by thegrassyknowl ( 762218 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @10:35PM (#21191977)
    Amateur rocketry was dying anyway. I remember trying to buy rocket engines when I was a bit younger (~10 years) and you already needed to provide photo ID with your current address on it. I gave up on that day, as did a lot of people because you can't even find rocketry supplies in the local model store anymore.
  • by xixax ( 44677 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @10:49PM (#21192081)
    Fertiliser already requires photo ID and valid reason. When our car's radioator was serviced the antifreeze was changed for a new blue liquid, while I haven't investigated, I'm betting it's a non ethylene glycol formula designed to be less useful as a precursor. I can't get thoriated gas lamp mantles and the "non radioactive" ones are feeble. Chlorine and sodium hydroxide aren't that far down the list anymore.

  • Re:all the fun stuff (Score:5, Informative)

    by Z0mb1eman ( 629653 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @10:51PM (#21192103) Homepage
    Ah well, there's always mail-order.

    Well... no, there isn't really. A good friend of mine who IS a rocket scientist (aerospace engineer, anyway) is a long-time rocket hobbyist and is now tinkering with propulsion systems in his garage. Don't get him started on ordering hobby rocket engines above a certain size, any kind of fuel ingredients, and even certain parts from the States over the last couple of years (we're in Canada, and apparently you can't find a lot of this stuff locally to start with).
  • Re:And by extension (Score:2, Informative)

    by Derek Loev ( 1050412 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @11:02PM (#21192177)
    As much as I want to disagree with what you said I can't bring myself to do it. The only "real" experiment I've done in my Chemistry class this year involved baking soda and water. I envy the older generations who actually were able to conduct real experiments and learn something useful.
  • Idiotic Summary (Score:2, Informative)

    by E++99 ( 880734 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @11:28PM (#21192347) Homepage
    If by "anti-terrorism laws" the summary means fireworks regulations, anti-drug laws, and most especially product liability laws and precedents, then it is somewhere on the sane side of reality. TFA didn't have a single example of an anti-terrorism law that impeded the sale or manufacture of chemistry sets. Paranoia strikes deep.
  • Stick it to 'em! (Score:2, Informative)

    by loimprevisto ( 910035 ) on Wednesday October 31, 2007 @11:40PM (#21192459)
    I really would have liked to mod a few things in this discussion, but I figured most folks would like to see this link: []

    Hmm... I'm not sure how to change the displayed text of a link with slashcode, the document is TM 31-210, Improvised Munitions Handbook. Lots of fun projects that will work even for the 'chemistry impared', as long as you stay paranoid about safety (as you should any time you're making explosives or acids!).
  • by sheepweevil ( 1036936 ) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @01:14AM (#21193109) Homepage
    How about you stop spreading FUD and give some evidence to your claims. The vast majority of college students change their majors at least once. I wasn't asked by anyone what my major would be until junior year of high school, and I wasn't asked to make a concrete choice until I actually applied to colleges Senior year.

    too bad you selected accountant, now you can't get that particle physics minor you so badly wanted.
    One of the reasons most accountants don't get particle physics minors is that there is no overlap between the two subjects, so the minor would probably require another year of college; most accountants aren't that interested in particle physics in the first place.

    Showing an interest in an activity outside of your major, oooh - watchout, you've made the FBI's watch list again.
    I am a Computer Science/Software Engineering Double major, and I am president of our University's Chess Club and an avid Rock Climber. Since neither of those have anything to do with CSC/SE, where is my name on the Terrorism lists?
  • by plasmacutter ( 901737 ) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @02:18AM (#21193463)
    I understand this statement skirts the edge of the bottomless pit that is sexism, but it makes good points about the disappearance of the american middle class and needs a mod-up.

    cory doctorow talks about how the dot-bomb era politicians sold us out .. and have irreversibly put us down the path toward the third world nations. []

    (watch it all)
  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @04:17AM (#21193891) Journal
    The devil is in the detail, I agree with your sentiment though totally appropriate today.

    * Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

    o This statement was used as a motto on the title page of An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania. (1759) which was attributed to Franklin in the edition of 1812, but in a letter of September 27, 1760 to David Hume, he states that he published this book and denies that he wrote it, other than a few remarks that were credited to the Pennsylvania Assembly, in which he served. The phrase itself was first used in a letter from that Assembly dated November 11, 1755 to the Governor of Pennsylvania. An article on the origins of this statement here includes a scan that indicates the original typography of the 1759 document, which uses an archaic form of "s": "Thofe who would give up Essential Liberty to purchafe a little Temporary Safety, deferve neither Liberty nor Safety." Researchers now believe that a fellow diplomat by the name of Richard Jackson is the primary author of the book. With the information thus far available the issue of authorship of the statement is not yet definitely resolved, but the evidence indicates it was very likely Franklin, who in the Poor Richard's Almanack of 1738 is known to have written a similar proverb: "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power."
    But just as relevant and far more recent is something John.F.Kennedy said

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
    He knew back then how afraid governments and the power elite are of a population properly educated and motivated, which is why both are being disassembled today.
  • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @06:49AM (#21194473)
    In addition, knives penetrate ballistic armour more easily than bullets.

    A bullet has a fixed kinetic energy, once it's dissipated, that's the end of it. A knife has an active arm behind it, applies pressure to a much smaller cross section which cuts armour fibres easily, and has a progressive effect - once it's cut a small way, it can cut some more.

    They also don't run out of ammunition, aim more easily (as you point out), and because they are used at melee range, choosing your target for maximum damage is also much easier.
  • by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... m ['eve' in gap]> on Thursday November 01, 2007 @12:13PM (#21198079) Homepage

    I know what fascism is, I'm using it the way it was originally used by Mussolini, where there is almost no distinction between businesses and governments, but, unlike communism, the partnership is used to funnel huge amounts of money to corporations. It's basically the opposite of communism, instead of the government controlling the means of production, corporations control the means of governance.

    You're apparently using it to mean 'totalitarian' or 'authoritative', which is just silly, we already have words for that. Those can be anything from a dictatorship to communism to fascism. All those are non-democratic, all of them differ as to who is in charge and what their goals are. (And all those 'goals' take second place to 'protecting the regimen'.)

    And the term 'Islamofascism' is just a silly name. Islamism has almost none of the traits of fascism. It is also anti-democratic, so it's authoritative, but it's theocratic authoritative.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Thursday November 01, 2007 @03:29PM (#21200911) Journal
    Your probably not going to get a good bomb with the fertilizers available over the counter today. You might get a poof or something but nothing compared to what you could get with fertilizers purchased with a chemical license.

    Yes, most of the god stuff going on farm fields are licensed and controlled for the most part. now taking it from a farmer might be easier then attempting to buy it from an authorized source.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.