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Posts tagged with "How Not to Do It"

  • How Not to Do It

    How Not to Do It: Breaking up Ammonium Nitrate

    I’ve come across several odd facts and stories from an old (1927) book called The Romance of Chemistry, given to me in person by Mark Nelson of Frontier Scientific.* Among these is an alarming incident I hadn’t heard about before, one that took place in Oppau, Germany, in 1921. BASF had built a large facility… Read More
  • Chemical News

    How Not to Do It: TATP

    You may well have heard about an incident at the University of Bristol, where a student inadvertently prepared some triacetone triperoxide (TATP). That’s a substance that I definitely won’t work with, but I haven’t done an entry on it in that category because of its unfortunate significance. No one is going to make a batch… Read More
  • How Not to Do It

    How Not to Do It: Dosing Volunteers

    Well, here I post about the ethical problems of using normal volunteers in Phase I studies, and this story comes along. It’s not exactly an investigational drug trial – two students (in “Sports Science”) at Northumbria University in England were being given caffeine to measure its effects on exercise. But there was a bit of… Read More
  • Chemical News

    Chemical Storage, Good and Not So Good

    Back to science! I will admit that my Twitter feed is going to be rather more politicized than usual for some time to come, but this is not a political site, and thank God for that. I have to say, it certainly brings in the comments and the traffic, but that’s not my goal in life. Read More
  • How Not to Do It

    How Not to Do It: Transporting Nitric Acid

    Via Reddit’s r/chemistry, we have this alarming footage of what is apparently about two tons of fuming nitric acid that has burst out of a tanker truck. This article on the Russian news site says that it took place several days ago in, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, and that the driver was nowhere to be seen. Read More
  • How Not to Do It

    Nitric Acid And Your Lab Coat

    Ah, the good old nitric acid/sulfuric acid nitration conditions. A classic reaction if ever there was one. But you don’t want to let it spray all over your lab coat – you really don’t. I have a shirt like the coat in that photo, one that I got from a sulfuric acid splashback in 1984… Read More
  • Cardiovascular Disease

    How Not to Handle Your Clinical Data

    We turn now to Orexigen, one of the small companies trying to make headway in the obesity market. Earlier this year, a patent application from them published, claiming that their drug (Contrave, a sustained release formulation combining the known drugs naltrexone and bupropion) had cardiovascular benefits above and beyond its weight-loss effects. P… Read More
  • How Not to Do It

    How Not to Do It: NMR Magnets

    Here’s an NMR imaging blog with details of a recent problem in an Indian facility. Two people ended up stuck to the machine, pinned by an oxygen cylinder (!) that one of them brought into the room. Both sustained injuries. There are two questions here: one is how anyone is allowed to wheel a ferromagnetic… Read More
  • How Not to Do It

    How Not to Do It: Chromium Trioxide

    Note: this was a post on my old blog site, and never made the migration over to the current “In the Pipeline”. I was reminded of it this morning, and thought I’d bring it more out into the light. There are reports (updated here – DBL) that Mars may have hexavalent chromium compounds in its… Read More
  • Graduate School

    Accident Report, or One Damn Thing After Another

    I have this from a lab-accidents-I-have-known discussion over on Reddit. It is, of course, unverified, but it’s depressingly plausible. As a chemist, this one is guaranteed to make you bury your head in your hands – it’s the second law of thermodynamics come to take vengeance, with the entropy increasing as you go along: “A… Read More