Oh Brian, how could you?

Home Forum Chat Forum Oh Brian, how could you?

Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 30 total)
  • Oh Brian, how could you?
  • Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Be careful, the NSA and GCHQ are watching.

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    the same stuff, but better

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/seven

    Lisa Jardine traces the evolution of scientific endeavour in Britain over the last four centuries. We often hear how science has changed our world. In this series of seven programmes, Lisa explores how our world has changed science: pushing it in new directions, creating new disciplines and pioneering new approaches to scientific understanding. It’s a history of science that weaves science back into the fabric of everyday life and shows how the concerns of the scientist are the concerns of us all.

    bencooper
    Member

    Okay, he’s now made a simple cloud chamber – he’s redeemed himself.

    allthepies
    Member

    I made some of that touch sensitive stuff when I were a lad, works well πŸ™‚

    bencooper
    Member

    Great fun to paint on the bottom of someone’s mug when it’s wet πŸ˜‰

    willard
    Member

    Or put on a light switch.

    Are we allowed to say what the liquid is?

    bencooper
    Member

    Science dumbed down again – though it’s probably not Brian Cox’s fault – but in his Science Britannia programme he copied an experiment by Humphrey Davey, mixing iodine with “this liquid”.

    Obviously some lawyer at the BBC decreed that you can’t really tell the public how to make anything explosive, especially in the “current climate”, so the word “ammonia” was edited out of the script.

    Grr.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    Iodine + Ammonium Hydroxide -> Ammonium Nitrogen Tri-iodide (the explosive bit) + water + ammonium iodide.

    The tri-iodide explodes on contact to give iodine, nitrogen and ammonia.

    It’s extremely unstable – great fun but needs careful handling. Don’t make too much of it in one go!

    Premier Icon verses
    Subscriber

    My grumble with the show was when he got to GM foods. Much like most people (I imagine) I know little about the subject and they came across as very dismissive of people’s mistrust.

    He seemed to imply that people are scared/wary of them because of the negative portrayal of science as a whole and gave the nuclear bomb as an example.

    Surely more pertinent examples are;
    – The many poorly reported false health scares (e.g. Red meat is good for you AND gives you cancer depending on what day you pick up the paper)
    – Vaccination scares (e.g. MMR)
    – Drugs we’ve been told are safe but turn out not to be (e.g. Thalidomide)

    To say “All we’ve done is make a potato plant that’s resistant to blight, why wouldn’t you want that?” is all well and good, but until it’s 100% certain that there are no unforeseen circumstances that can propagate from that it seems sensible to be cautious… If that point has already been reached then that message needs conveying to the public as a whole.

    Premier Icon kcal
    Subscriber

    yes, very popular experiment in our chemistry class c. 1977 or so (IIRC) ::)

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Not seeing a problem with not giving out bomb making instructions tbh. Not because kids will become terrorists, but because they are quite likely to injure themselves significantly.

    yes, very popular experiment in our chemistry class c. 1977 or so (IIRC) ::)

    pfffffttt we were’t even allowed to accidentaly make TNT anymore in ’97-’04, not that making DNT it particularly interesting either, which is probably why it was banned, as the only reason to bother is to leave it a little too long and a little too warm.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    The classic one when I was at school was the erupting volcano – build a nice little conical pile of ammonium dichromate and heat the shit out of it with a bunsen. Get a lovely display of sparks and lots of green ash.

    Sugar and potassium nitrate makes a good smoke bomb too. πŸ™‚

    maxtorque
    Member

    Lets be honest, ANT isn’t going to be a terribly effective terror weapon now is it, mainly because it tends to explode before you’ve even got out of your own house………. πŸ˜‰

    bencooper
    Member

    And it’s nowhere near as dangerous as making nitroglycerine or something, which is equally easy to do (though rather harder to do right).

    5thElefant
    Member

    Science dumbed down again – though it’s probably not Brian Cox’s fault – but in his Science Britannia programme he copied an experiment by Humphrey Davey, mixing iodine with “this liquid”.

    Every child knows it’s ammonia don’t they? Or has GTA taken over from blowing stuff up.

    rusty90
    Member

    When I was a science mad young lad I got a Blue Peter badge for sending them the recipe for ANT.
    I guess these days I’d get a visit from the anti-terrorist squad instead.

    Premier Icon kimbers
    Subscriber

    Verses I think all of those things you listed were due to poor journalism , apart from thalidomide which is a very old example, fortunately drugs are much more thoroughly tested now

    scuzz
    Member

    Not because kids will become terrorists, but because they are quite likely to injure themselves significantly.

    You’re not really suggesting that kids can injure themselves with knowledge alone, are you? πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon I_did_dab
    Subscriber

    Surely more pertinent examples are;
    – The many poorly reported false health scares (e.g. Red meat is good for you AND gives you cancer depending on what day you pick up the paper)
    – Vaccination scares (e.g. MMR)
    – Drugs we’ve been told are safe but turn out not to be (e.g. Thalidomide)

    1) don’t read the Daily Mail or any other ‘news’paper for their oversimplification and misrepresentation of science.
    2) I would like to see some of the journalists who propogated this false story prosecuted for the measles epidemic this year. MMR always was safe, and was never linked to autism in a correctly conducted clinical study.
    3) this one is true, but drug safety testing a world away from where it was in the 1950s.
    A more pertinent example would be the introduction of a ‘foreign’ species that obliterates the native species e.g. the grey squirrel or European starling.

    iolo
    Member

    During WW2 the army had an explosives training camp in Bronaber (the village where the log cabins are near Coed y Brenin).
    The moors above this camp was littered with Ordinance left over from that time.
    There was a particular field where a whole load of cordite had been dumped.
    When we were kids we would go there on bikes and collect as much as we could. We would then burn it and try and make it explode.
    Many other unexploded shells were littered all over the place.
    The army finally went there in the late 80’s and cleared as much as possible.
    I still see the occasional shell whilst walking around there.

    5thElefant
    Member

    There’s a WW2 crash site above osmotherly. Lots and lots of .303 rounds were to be had in the 70s. Endless fun.

    bencooper
    Member

    When we were kids we would go there on bikes and collect as much as we could. We would then burn it and try and make it explode.

    Which of course doesn’t work as it needs to be confined to make it explode. Burning was the recognised method of disposal of cordite.

    There’s a story about (I think) Nobel – dynamite has the same property, when confined it’s explosive, when in the open air it just burns. So as an after-dinner trick, he’d take a stick of dynamite out of his pocket and light it from the candles on the table, to light his cigar.

    Apparently his guests would tend to leave the room rather quickly πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon verses
    Subscriber

    Indeed, and unfortunately your average person in the street is quite likely to be influenced by poor journalism.

    The introduction of foreign species is a much better example πŸ™‚

    I just felt they implied that people were stupid if they weren’t in favor of GM crops, and to liken it to fears over nuclear power was just odd.
    Personally I’m not opposed to GM as long as there’s significant evidence to show that using it to solve one issue isn’t going to introduce others. But I don’t feel the latter has been shown (or if it has I wasn’t paying attention πŸ™‚ )

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    dynamite has the same property, when confined it’s explosive, when in the open air it just burns

    The statistic I always loved about explosives was that their power is cubed as a factor of their weight. So 9oz of explosive is not 9x bigger/better than 1oz. It’s 729x bigger/better. πŸ™‚

    5thElefant
    Member

    Which of course doesn’t work as it needs to be confined to make it explode. Burning was the recognised method of disposal of cordite.

    Bullets are similar. Setting one off without it being in a chamber with a barrel just results in a bang and a ruptured case. Not a bullet going two miles. Luckily.

    bencooper
    Member

    Can I pimp my book now? All the stuff you ever wanted to know about making cordite and other explosives, but were too afraid of the NSA to ask:

    Available from no good bookshops.

    dirtycrewdom
    Member

    Be careful, the NSA and GCHQ are watching.

    I’m pretty sure they already know how to make this.

    Premier Icon thepurist
    Subscriber

    Which of course doesn’t work as it needs to be confined to make it explode. Burning was the recognised method of disposal of cordite.

    It works a treat when you’ve collected a load from various military wreck sites then ram it into a soil pipe that’s dug into the ground on bonfire night. Not so good when you’re reloading it for the second go and start to hear this funny wooshing noise from inside the (still hot) pipe, and especially not good if one of the folks doing the loading is deaf… he only singed his eyebrows 😯

    Lots of good stuff to be found under the sea – the Volnay (in Cornwall) had loads of white phosphorus on board – the skippers didn’t like it if somebody came back onto the boat and got out this weird waxy lump they’d found.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    Surely more pertinent examples are;
    – The many poorly reported false health scares (e.g. Red meat is good for you AND gives you cancer depending on what day you pick up the paper)
    – Vaccination scares (e.g. MMR)
    – Drugs we’ve been told are safe but turn out not to be (e.g. Thalidomide)

    1) don’t read the Daily Mail or any other ‘news’paper for their oversimplification and misrepresentation of science.
    2) I would like to see some of the journalists who propogated this false story prosecuted for the measles epidemic this year. MMR always was safe, and was never linked to autism in a correctly conducted clinical study.
    3) this one is true, but drug safety testing a world away from where it was in the 1950s.
    A more pertinent example would be the introduction of a ‘foreign’ species that obliterates the native species e.g. the grey squirrel or European starling.

    Thalidomide is still prescribed – it was discovered to be disasterous when used in very specific circumstances – during pregnancy – but its still an important drug.

    The stem of the problem with health reporting – what may or may not be good for you – is smoking. When it was discovered that smoking was so heavily responsible for lung cancer – was the cause of almost all lung cancers – you had a very easy solution. Smoking causes lung cancer – don’t smoke – don’t get lung cancer – win. Black and white, no shades of grey. The desire since then is that everything could be just as simple – Do A (or don’t do A) and it will prevent B. But nothing else is that simple and ‘Eating a little bit more or less of something may be seen at a population level to raise or lower the risk of something already unlikely, but could have other unintended consequences’ is a headline that won’t sell many copies of the Daily Express

Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 30 total)

The topic ‘Oh Brian, how could you?’ is closed to new replies.