Chemistry set

A first blog is like your first chemistry set, with all kinds of cool test tubes and little screw-top jars containing odd looking powders with funny names. Once you’ve set everything up in your parents’ basement, you can mix things any way you like. Put a little of this white powder into water and it turns bright blue, try the same thing with that yellow powder and a crystal starts to grow, right there in the Pyrex beaker!

When I start a blog post I don’t always know exactly what kinds of chemicals I’m mixing together. Two days ago I started talking about Persepolis and by the time I was done the post was fairly exploding with unresolved anger about the World Trade Center bombing. Here I was, thinking I was going to grow a nice crystal or maybe get a puff of smoke from my little mixture, and I ended up blowing up a shelf and half of the basement wall.

I imagine that some of you who’ve been reading this blog were not ready for the blast. When you first got to the site that day, you were probably thinking “hmm, I wonder what Ken’s cooking up in his laboratory today.” But rather than a cool little green flame over the bunsen burner, you ended up getting your eyebrows singed off. Well, sorry about that. I guess that’s how science works. I would just like to say to readers that I sincerely apologize for any and all missing eyebrows, and will promise to replace all singed articles of clothing and any cracked or broken eyeglass frames.

Now back to the lab. There’s this interesting mixture of sulfur and tartaric acid I’ve been meaning to try out…

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