Adventures in Ethics and Science

Old school geekery.

Dr. Free-Ride’s parents, Duke and Super Sally, have been working hard to shed some of the material goods they have accumulated in the last several years, on account of they are planning a move to smaller living quarters.

Of course, this means that they shipped several boxes of stuff from their current place to Casa Free-Ride. There’s some sort of conservation of matter principle at work here.

Not that I should complain. For one thing, half of those boxes are actually Uncle Fishy’s. For another, there’s some stuff cool stuff in the boxes that are staying with us.


There are, as expected, the old photos. I believe this one was taken before my parents brought me home from the hospital.

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There are others from elementary school where the 1970s fashions are very, um, striking.

But there are also some really cool nerd accoutrements that my parents must have realized would be appreciated at Casa Free-Ride. Let’s say you have to do some organic chemistry during a power outage.

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Whip out the “Chemist’s Triangle” and you can draw all those structures without computer assistance.

Or, if you need to plan the set-up for your next foray into synthesis:

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A chemistry stencil with all manner of glassware! How did I live without this?

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In that same box, something that looks like it would fit in the pocket of a lab coat much more easily than a CRC Handbook.

This Condensed Laboratory Handbook (copyright 1965 by E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.), 44 pages of awesome, has a fold-out Periodic Table of the Elements, the values of fundamental physical constants, a table of logarithms to four places (one more thing you might want during a power outage!), and conversion tables of various sorts.

There’s information on the concentrations of commonly used lab reagents.

There are ionization constants for acids and bases.

There’s a table of various acid-base indicators.

There are recipes for standard solutions of various sorts.

And then, right after the “Laboratory Safety Tips,” the “Safe Practice Suggestions,” the “Checklist for General Laboratory Safety,” and the “Personal Protection Checklist,” we get to the fun stuff — discussions of hazardous chemicals and mixtures.

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There’s also information on the recommended ways to package and transport chemicals and explosives.

I reckon people were a bit freer with this kind of information in 1965 than they are nowadays.

Comments

  1. #1 $0.01
    April 20, 2010

    Dr., we will make you into an archivist yet!

  2. #2 David L.
    April 20, 2010

    Is it me, or are you flashing gang signs in that hospital pic?

    “Yo, yo yo! Baby Free-Ride here, boyeez!”

    I hear you on the 70’s elementary school fashion. My kindergarten through 5th grade school pics are a scary mixture of brick red corduroy suits with stitched pockets, tab collars, rainbow striped turtlenecks, and avocado green everything with me sporting a snappy bowl cut in every photo.

  3. #3 Kevin Reid
    April 20, 2010

    Let’s have the story of how the blood got on the glassware stencil!

  4. #4 Super Sally
    April 20, 2010

    That was the official hospital picture of Dr. F-R at 2 days. You were still a bit mushed from the “adventure of birth” after an 18-hr labor, but who’s counting. The photographer poked at you to get you to extend your fingers. They were exceptionally long, and so an important distinguishing feature. I laughed when I heard a new grandfather tell his daughter that her new baby was beautiful, but “all babies look alike”. I had them bring you to the viewing window as exhibit A.

    Glad that at least some of the stuff struck your fancy, and it’s not like we’ll know if you get rid of it.

  5. #5 Pat Cahalan
    April 20, 2010

    Fess up, folks, we want to see the embarrassing ’70s outfits.

    I have strips and plaids in one photo, which shall never be published.

  6. #6 Comrade PhysioProf
    April 20, 2010

    Your dad is so lucky to be called “Duke”. I wanna change my name to “Duke”!

  7. #7 Janet D. Stemwedel
    April 20, 2010

    $0.01 @1, I’m already a packrat, so I may be easy to convert. (However, the better half will not let me get compact shelving for Casa Free-Ride.)

    David L. @2, I was all set to go with the hypothesis that I was throwing gang signs before the cool kids were doing it … and then my mom shows up to undermine that conclusion. Thanks Mom!

    Kevin Reid @3, I don’t think it’s blood … although I suppose I should subject it to chemical analysis to find out for sure.

    CPP @6, “Duke” is the name my father chose for himself when asked what he wanted his grandchildren to call him. So I guess once you have grandchildren, you can name yourself Duke, too!

  8. #8 Super Sally
    April 21, 2010

    Actually the moniker Duke comes from your Dad’s Navy days when his shipmates dubbed him “Duke of Snipes” complete with nameplate for his compartment door.

    It seemed like a good plan to have the grandchildren call him Duke, rather than any of the common “G” names.

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