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The chemistry behind Walter White's famous meth

At Popular Mechanics, an analytical chemist uses clues from Breaking Bad to explain both the real science behind Walter White's meth formula, and the key flaw that either means the show's writers are taking a little artistic license or Walter is even more of a chemistry genius than anybody thought. Maggie 18

Breaking Bad Dance Remix music video (warning: S.1+2 spoilers)

[Video Link]

Do not watch if you have not yet watched seasons one and two of the television show Breaking Bad. Tight, tight, tight, yeah! Created by the very talented video remixer Chris Lohr. Damn, but Mr. White has fallen a long, long way since S1, que no?

(Thanks, Joe Sabia.)

Breaking Bad street art in NYC

Walter White from Breaking Bad, immortalized in street art on Rivington Street, NYC. Photographed and shared with Boing Boing by Daniel Albanese. This wheatpaste work is credited to street artist "ME." Bowery Boogie blog says,

Much of his work is co-opting established logos to fit the name, whether it’s the ME in Mets or Supreme. And of course, there’s the awesome Mitt Romney spoof that parlays the dog incident with the Griswold family vacation.

There's a needlepoint on this same theme.

Related: BrBa street art in Canada, and check out our BrBa archives. If you're in the mood for a video, watch our "Top 11 Breaking Bad Chemistry Moments" here, or check out our excellent adventure: air-dropping in to a random Breaking Bad fan's premiere party in the show's hometown of Albuquerque, NM.

Top 11 Chemistry Moments in Breaking Bad

WARNING: Video contains spoilers.

To celebrate the premiere of Breaking Bad's Fifth Season this week, my fellow trufan Miles O'Brien and I dug into the show's vaults to explore the top 10 chemistry moments in Breaking Bad, from seasons One through Four. Only, there was so much awesome science, we had to choose 11 top chemistry moments, instead.

Also, check out our excellent adventure: air-dropping in to a random Breaking Bad fan's premiere party in the show's hometown of Albuquerque, NM.

[Video Link]. More Boing Boing coverage of Breaking Bad here.

Assembled by Joe Sabia (Twitter: @joesabia, web: joesabia.co). Check out his CDZA project on YouTube, too. Thanks, Joe!

Walmart breaks bad: active meth lab found inside Missouri store

Apparently, corporate profits just aren't enough for some global megabusinesses these days: a Walmart store in South St. Louis County, Missouri was emptied by police when an "active methamphetamine production laboratory" was discovered inside.

Now, it's entirely possible that the "lab" consisted of an empty plastic bottle and some chemicals, but still, you guys: some tweeker was cooking crystal inside a freakin' Walmart.

The store was open and full of customers when it was cleared about 6:15 p.m. Thursday after employees and then police discovered the possible hazardous situation involving the substances used to make methamphetamine, St. Louis County police Lt. Mark Cox said. The chemicals were discovered after police were called about a shoplifter. Cox did not yet know details of the "lab," how it was put together or where in the store it was located.

UPDATE: It gets weirder. This local news report further clarifies that a woman detained for shoplifting at the Walmart "began to make meth in the loss prevention office."

Now that is baller. You're busted for shoplifting, placed in what amounts to a holding cell inside the store, and how do you kill time? Makin' ice!

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Breaking Good: how to synthesize Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) From N-Methylamphetamine (crystal meth)


Photo: Chris Howey / Shutterstock

Genius scientific paper* of the day: "A Simple and Convenient Synthesis of Pseudoephedrine From N-Methylamphetamine, by O. Hai and I. B. Hakkenshit." (PDF).

A response by annoyed Sudafed users to the onerous demands by pharmacies for ID and tracking, due to the fact that this helpful and common over-the-counter drug can be used to manufacture crystal meth.

Snip from the paper:

A novel and straightforward synthesis of pseudoephidrine from readily available N-methylamphetamine is presented. This practical synthesis is expected to be a disruptive technology replacing the need to find an open pharmacy.

Pseudoephedrine, active ingredient of Sudafed®, has long been the most popular nasal decongestant in the United States due to its effectiveness and relatively mild side effects [1]. In recent years it has become increasingly difficult to obtain psuedoephedine in many states because of its use as a precursor for the illegal drug N-methylamphetamine (also known under various names including crystal meth, meth, ice, etc.)[1,2]. While in the past many stores were able to sell pseudoephedrine, new laws in the United States have restricted sales to pharmacies, with the medicine kept behind the counter. The pharmacies require signatures and examination of government issued ID in order to purchase pseudoephedrine. Because the hours of availability of such pharmacies are often limited, it would be of great interest to have a simple synthesis of pseudoephedrine from reagents which can be more readily procured.

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