Wired Science 's feature on the demise of chemical availability has Sci Am grumbling about sexism in the days of Ask Mr Wizard , when boys got chemistry sets but girls were expected to make do with junior lab technician kits. Perhaps they should be riled instead at the nanny state for the growing infantilization of science education.
While liability lawyers have been driving the number of chemicals in chemistry sets down to literally zero, lest kids burn , maim, derange or kill themselves, the number of chemicals in household drug cabinets has burgeoned , as has the availability of such hazardous substances as elemental phosphorus and iodine to do it yourself pharmacists.
Will some one please dig up mortality stats comparing elevensomething amateur scientists and the meth lab operators that provide work for underemployed SWAT teams? it is hard to believe that theJunior Lab Technician death toll to date exceeds the number of fingers on a nitrogen tri-iodide enthusiast.
When only criminals have chemistry sets, kids will have only the most widely available non-household chemicals and solvents at their disposal . This means a lot of explosive propellants and detonating compounds, for tens of millions of households have ample ammunition in their gun closets, nitromethane and ether in their garages,and acetone and peroxides on their powder room cosmetic shelves.
Why worry about sexism when the calculus of terror depends on the gap between peroxide sales and the number of blonde bombshells, and the mmonium nitrate in a nation's garden sheds can end up raising hell instead of roses and zucchini?