An in-depth discussion of tear gas.

Jun 07 2020

Before I repost this Twitter thread in toto, I'd like to say a few things.  First, Zander is an old friend of mine (pushing 20 years at this point).  Second, while he might bill himself as "an amateur chemist," his scientific expertise has been helpful to me numerous times over the years, so I feel that I can vouch for his knowledge as well as his assessment of the situation.  I asked him if I could repost this research earlier and he gave his permission.  For clarity I've made minor edits to add punctuation.  I've also reposted the images he used and gotten hold of copies of his references.  I feel that, right now being able to verify the provenance of information is very important because information sabotage is an effective tactic.

Take it away, Zander.

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I’ve been seeing a lot of conflicting information about tear gas online and wanted to make a guide about what tear gas is, how it’s used and how to treat exposure to it. I have a background in experimental methodology and research, and am an amateur chemist.

Special thanks to @3liza for this thread that gave me inroads to the literature, @taliabear for proofreading this and my professional chemist friend who wishes to remain anonymous for reviewing this.

So the first thing to really drive home: Tear gas isn’t just one thing. There’s nearly a dozen different compounds that are used as riot control agents across the world. I’ll be focusing on the USA because that’s where I live.

Reprint: Making your own superconductor.

May 22 2020

Disclaimer: Times have changed since this article was written so seek legal and scientific advice from qualified personnel if you plan to try making your own superconducting materials.  I am not qualified personnel or a lawyer.  Do not try this at home.  We live in a world in which possession of basic chemistry apparatus is illegal in some places, so do your homework.

Process reprinted from OMNI Magazine, November 1987, page 76.  (local PDF) (local CBR) (right-click -> save as to download))

From How To Make Your Own Superconductors, by Bruce Schecter.  Retyped as faithfully as possible.  Hyperlinks mine, added for background.

Paul Grant, a research scientist at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California, believes he has even come up with the first practice use of the new superconductors - science education.  A few months after he and his colleagues had whipped up their first batch, he advised high-school science teacher David Pribyl and his students from Gilroy, California (famous for its garlic), to have a go at making superconductors themselves.  Grant feels that this must be some kind of record.  "In less than six months a major discovery made the trip from the research laboratory to a high-school chemistry project," Grant says.  "Next year year, science fairs will have hundreds of these experiments."

The new superconductors are made up of yttrium, barium, copper, and oxygen - the chemical formula is Y1Ba2Cu3O7-x.  The proportions of the yttrium, barium, and copper have lead scientists to call this material 123 - a nice coincidence since making it is as easy as that.