Derek Lowe keeps a blog, that alone wouldn't be news worthy but his blog is the home of Things I Won't Work With, a fascinating look at chemicals so noxious, so volatile that even the names will make amateur chemists flinch.
Such things as:
Everyone knows hydrogen peroxide, HOOH. And if you know it, you also know that it's well-behaved in dilute solution, and progressively less so as it gets concentrated. The 30% solution will go to work immediately bleaching you out if you are so careless as to spill some on you, and the 70% solution, which I haven't seen in years, provides an occasion to break out the chain-mail gloves.
When we last checked in with the Klapötke lab at Munich, it was to highlight their accomplishments in the field of nitrotetrazole oxides. Never forget, the biggest accomplishment in such work is not blowing out the lab windows.
And a hard core it is! This stuff was first prepared in Germany in 1932 by Ruff and Menzel, who must have been likely lads indeed, because it's not like people didn't respect fluorine back then. No, elemental fluorine has commanded respect since well before anyone managed to isolate it, a process that took a good fifty years to work out in the 1800s. (The list of people who were blown up or poisoned while trying to do so is impressive). And that's at room temperature.
Has anyone here had to work with any of these?
Usually on the green site, when a blog is posted it's utter shit. THIS blog on the other hand... it's GOLD. I'm going to lose a few hours reading it and everyone else should too.
I agree. This is exactly the sorts of things I used to love reading back on SD.
I know about as much chem as I could cram in my first year of college in those 2 courses I was forced to take. I also know I am total rubbish at it too and know enough to get no closer to it than watching nurdrage on youtube. One other thing I have learned is between chlorine and oxygen I can be very thankful most of it is nicely bound up in other molecules so I am not melted!
Chemistry always seemed like the biggest game of rock paper scissors ever to me.
I want to say something similar: this is a good example of a non-news post that is very valid for the site.
I saw this site posted in the comments for the Burning Ammonium Dichromate and Mercury Thiocyanate article yesterday, and it did deserve its own post. Thanks to the submitter for making that happen.
I found this a couple years ago and burned a day or two reading all of it. Fascinating stuff, and the writing is entertaining. If memory serves there are 2 major themes: things that really stink, and things that really like to go boom.
I've been reading Derek's blog for the past couple years. He gives a great picture of all of the issues involved with pharmaceutical development. He's fair to both the industry and its critics and points out the crap that's come about with this now consolidated industry since megacorps started dominating the business with the acquisition craze that started in the eighties.