Sunday, September 03, 2006

Dude, don't drop that!

So, I went kayaking once, and it was really fun. Maybe I'll do it again someday when I finish grad school.
After a long summer of field work and an excessive binge of plane flights and overpriced airport beers, I landed in Minnesota to word at U MN for a couple weeks in a geochemistry lab. My job was to turn big rocks into very small rocks, and then drop said small rocks in lots of fun acid to dissolve away everything but the quartz. "Why do we need the quartz?" you might ask. Well, I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you. Anyway, the end product that goes through more chemistry which I didn't have time to do is a nice, fine, white powder.

uh, does the DEA approve of this?
What's the street value of this stuff? Maybe I could pay rent!

What exactly am I working with again?

So the days would normally start out by walking into the lab and spinning the "Wheel of chemicals found under the fume hood", and finding out which one you were going to drop that day. Chemicals found on the wheel include- Water (you're probably drinking a glass of this at the moment); Hydrochloric acid (pretty close to water, it might sting a little); Hydrogen Peroxide (probably have this in your first aid kit); Nitric acid (Ouch! It burns!); and everybody's favorite, Hydrofluoric acid (Warning: Fatal if inhaled, absorbed through skin or swallowed. Speedy attention is critical! Get medical attention immediately!)

You thought I was kidding, huh?
What is this, space camp again?

It's always fun when the delivery guy brings more hydrofluoric acid, and you get to wheel a cart across campus that is full of 200 lbs of acid, each box has a set of warning stickers on it, one of which includes a 12" tall skull and crossbones with big lettering "POISON" on it. You get a lot of weird looks.

Yeah, I'm on my way back to North Carolina, might head to the brand-spankin-new whitewater park in Charlotte in a couple days. Stay tuned for photos/ video of that bad boy!

Live in the MSP airport!
--Selander out!


At 8:38 AM, Blogger Megs said...

You look like a mad scientist in that picture!!

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Megs said...

You forgot the don't sneeze comment!!!!

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Christina Russell said...

he he he I want to play with acid! ;)


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