July 28, 2004
Matthew 5:15

I was just changing a light bulb, and it reminded me of a little book of chemistry experiments I had as a kid. The first part of the book described how to make your own equipment, and set up your own little laboratory with tubes and burners and drawers for all sorts of little things and so on. One of the things you could make was an erlenmeyer-esque flask; their instructions were to find a burned-out light bulb, score the neck and break off the metal bits, clean out the inside with some sort of abrasive mixture, and then melt or file smooth the sharp bits around the open neck. Then just measure out some gradations on the side, twist together a stand out of an old wire hanger, slip a bunsen burner under it and you're good to go!

I mentioned this to Bernie, and we quickly came to the conclusion that there is no way in hell that anyone today would put anything even remotely like that in a book aimed at the under-ten mad scientist demographic. Not without a flurry of paranoid lawsuits screaming after it, anyway. Hell, me, I'm surprised that the light bulbs that a fully-functioning adult is supposed to screw into your everyday lamp or socket doesn't come with a bold warning stenciled on each one: "WARNING: NOT A FOOD ITEM. MAY CAUSE CANCER IN PREGNANT WOMEN. DO NOT PUT LIGHT BULB IN ASS."

(July 28, 2004 05:16 PM)
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