Radio Interview with ITFreely: Eating the Elephant


Last night, I had the honor of an interview with David Dolphin and Gareth Eason from ITFreely, an Irish radio show on science and technology.  We discussed hackerspaces, my current experiments, and the current state of garage experimentation.

It was a lot of fun, but listening to myself, I really wish I was more erudite and less stuttery – the final question was especially bad on my part – he asked me about the effects of an STM on drug manufacture, and I gave a true, but somewhat lame answer – that an STM really isn’t helpful for making drugs.  Here’s basically what I wish I had said (I came up with this hours later, of course):

The truth is that people like me have much more to fear from society than society has to fear from us basement chemistry tinkerers.

The irrational fear that everyone with a chemistry set is making methamphetamines or bombs has caused a lot of unfounded raids and arrests.  This stifles innovation and experimentation.  Every time I mention that I have a chemistry lab in my house to anyone, that person immediately jokes about drugs or bombs, and that’s a little scary considering my country’s raid first, ask questions later mentality for chemistry.  Hence the tagline I use on my website: Chemistry is Not a Crime.

In my case not only do I not know how to make meth, I honestly have no desire to make pharmaceuticals. Or explosives – both are way too dangerous, not to mention illegal.  Turning $1.50 of household chemicals into $30 worth of nanoparticles sounds more than lucrative enough to me, and it has a much lower legal risk.

IT Freely Season 2, Episode 15: Eating the Elephant


4 Responses to “Radio Interview with ITFreely: Eating the Elephant”

  1. [...] IT Freely Season 2, Episode 15, direct link. Tags: chemistry, Projects, radio [...]

  2. Tim says:

    At least next time you’ll already have the answer to this question prepared.

  3. Sacha says:

    That’s true. Also, I emailed the revised answer to David, and he very kindly added it to the end of the interview page.

  4. David says:

    Hey, great to get you on the show, it’s a very cool project and I’m looking forward to seeing some results.