The short version: This is an awesome book.
I've been a fan of Theodore Gray's work in odd science for some time now -- his amazing Periodic Table of Elements posters and puzzles are the subject of previous Boing Boing blog posts, and he contributes a monthly column about "chemistry, elements, and blowing things up" for Popular Science . I just received a copy of his beautiful new book, Mad Science, and the richness and eccentricity of its contents are just what I'd expect from him.
This thing is like an anarchist cookbook for happy mutants -- page after page of recipes, hazard warnings, beautiful photographs, and quirky personal observations. Want to know how to turn ore into homemade titanium in a flowerpot? Copper-plate your iPod? Craft a "hillbilly hot tub"? Brew ethanol in your bathtub? All here.
The attention to detail will delight "makers" and nerd readers of all ages. I love the little skull and crossbones death-icons on pages where experiments could lead to loss of life.
Gray has a degree in chemistry, but I believe he is an "amateur scientist" in the true and honored meaning of the term. His work fosters the culture of tinkering and experimentation, which, as he says in the introduction, is the true source of all great scientific achievements.
Science is not something practiced only in labs and universities. It's a way of looking at the world and seeing truth and beauty everywhere. It's something you can do whether you are employed as a professional scientist or not. While I have a degree in chemistry from a fine university, I've never worked as a professional chemist. I do these demonstrations in my shop on a rural farmstead a half a mile from the nearest neighbor.
Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do At Home - But Probably Shouldn't
More about the projects here.
A scrap dealer cleaning out a deceased engineer’s basement in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania found two massive 1960s computers, magnetic tape data storage systems, and hundreds of tape reels, all of which was marked as the property of NASA. The scrap dealer called NASA to report what he found and the agency’s Office of the Inspector General […]
The Department of Agriculture’s chief scientist oversees more than 1,000 scientists in 100 research facilities: Trump’s pick to run the agency is Sam Clovis, a climate-denying talk-radio host who not only lacks any kind of scientific degrees — he didn’t take a single science course at university.
NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia turns 100 this year. In celebration, the space agency produced this short documentary and enlisted Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, to narrate. Here are just a few highlights from NASA Langley’s incredible history: • In times of peace and war, NASA Langley helped to create a better airplane, […]
Just because English has become the common global tongue doesn’t mean it’s the easiest language to write—even for native speakers. If you’re looking to improve your written communication skills, especially on your smartphone, take a look at Ginger Page.Ginger is a cross-platform app that offers corrections for phrasing as well as grammar. It’s powered by […]
The current web development landscape is rife with buzzwords and technology that gets abandoned almost as soon as it’s made. If you’ve never written a line of code before, it can be hard to figure out what’s coming, what’s here to stay, or how to get ahead.This Beginner Web Development Bundle is a great place […]
The Fader Stealth Quadcopter from TRNDlabs packs incredible flight performance into a package small enough to land on your phone screen, and it’s available now in the Boing Boing Store.The Fader’s six-axis gyroscope module gives it perfect balance in the air. This makes the onboard 720p HD camera all the better for shooting amazing flight […]