Scientists have long been lamenting the decline of hands-on science in our schools and homes in today’s highly restrictive era of code oranges. With the proliferation of meth labs and the ongoing fear of invisible terrorists brewing lord-knows-what in suburban garages, the government’s crackdown on chemicals and activities deemed “unsafe” has sadly resulted in the slow asphyxiation of amateur science. Robert Bruce Thompson, advocate of home science and author of MAKE:Books’ Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments said at a conference last year, “Basically what they’ve done is defanged everything to the point where it’s entirely 99% safe, but in doing that they’ve also eliminated the ability to learn anything about chemistry.”
All very gloomy news indeed. But we also know from Newton’s Third Law of Motion, that to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So while schoolchildren are no longer encouraged to blow things up in their back yards, steampunk-influenced hipsters around the world cannot get enough of beakers, test-tubes and apothecary jars as part of their home décor. There’s the authentic vintage kind you see strewn about sawdusty bars with subway tiles, and then there’s the kitschy ha-ha kind like the cocktail chemistry set picture above. It’s kind of interesting to see all these Orgo flunkies get super excited by the prospect of playing with a Bunsen burner and trying to be molecular gastronomists at home. Even if you can’t memorize the Periodic Table of Elements if your life depended on it, at least you can look the part and parrot some scientific info off the television. Are lab coats the new black?
Gratuitous Blur video below that has nothing to do with anything. Just nostalgic.