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 sneezing monkey, a walking fish and a jewel-like snake are just some of a biological treasure trove of over 200 new species discovered in the Eastern Himalayas in recent years,” reports the World Wildlife Foundation today.
Three scientists won the world’s top science prize today, for their “mechanistic studies of DNA repair.” Their work mapped how cells repair deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) to prevent damaging errors from appearing in genetic information. Tomas Lindahl, Paul L. Modrich and Aziz Sancar today received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “having mapped and explained how […]
Maciej Ceglowski (previously) spoke to a O’Reilly’s Strata Big Data conference this month about the toxicity of data — the fact that data collected is likely to leak, and that data-leaks resemble nuclear leaks in that even the “dilute” data (metadata or lightly contaminated boiler suits and tools) are still deadly when enough of them […]
Watching Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services can unfortunately be difficult while traveling outside the US. Rather than bypass these restrictions with the help of a complex and slow VPN, choose a faster and simpler solution with Getflix. Instead of rerouting all your Internet traffic through a different server, this handy service only routes the […]
Shake, stir, and muddle your way to delicious homemade cocktails with this must-have bar set. Expect only the finest quality tools from MakersKit — enabling you to unleash your inner mixologist.Top 12 Favorite Things of 2014, Sunset MagazineQuart-size vintage-style Mason jar shakerRetro double jigger for accurate measurementsStrainer & spouts for a mixologist-style smooth pourHardwood muddler […]
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image.