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Making People Hate Chemistry on Halloween

Actual Twitter profile picture of the contributing editor at Gizmodo.

Thanks to a tip from ChemBark et al., here is the most “insanely irresponsible” promotion of hazardous chemistry demos that I’ve seen. Written by Gizmodo Contributing Editor Eric Limer, the post draws from books by author William Gurstelle (Backyard Ballistics, Absinthe & Flamethrowers).

On one hand, Gurstelle has done much to promote scientific curiosity among the public. That’s a good thing. Plus, Gurstelle has safety glasses in his promo picture. But Limer takes some of Gurstelle’s ideas out of context and suggests that they be used to scare or harm others.

Thankfully, many commenters have gone over to Gizmodo to register their disapproval but the post remains up. I understand from his profile and website that Limer lives in an area hit by Hurricane Sandy but I encourage him to take down his hurtful post as soon as is feasible.

Quirky is fun and interesting and people can find this information elsewhere with a little work. But promoting it at a major geek site is a Bad Idea.


  • Oct 31st 201207:10
    by azmanam


    Mark over at our site also wrote about this with an open letter to Gizmodo:


  • Oct 31st 201209:10
    by ScientistMags


    I wrote something on this over at my blog. It’s long but it’s pieces like this that lead to the kind of trouble that makes it harder to do chemistry demos in schools if and when something goes wrong.


  • Oct 31st 201212:10
    by David Kroll


    @azmanam – So who wrote the article? Was it Limer or was it by Burstelle and Limer just posted it?

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