Finally, an experiment

Physics guy asked me today to prepare a solubility laws experiment for his grade 10 chem class. I'm still waiting on the request sheet to prepare it.

It saddens me that we have such a limited supply of silver nitrate. All I have is pretty much 20mL of 0.01M and a scholar chemistry 1L bottle of 0.1M which i have instructions not to open it unless I absolutely have to so that it doesn't run out. There's 2 things that are very wrong that.

Granted, silver nitrate has a very long shelf life. I've read so far that some techs keep large supplies for over 8 years, as long as the temp is stable, it's kept in a dark bottle and it's stored in a dark cabinet.

What's wrong with saving?

In defense of saving i must say that these chemicals are expensive and a bitch to obtain because suppliers here in pooradise are extremely unreliable, overcharge and don't always have the appropriate stock. And then there's those we buy on the net and bring through currier from the states. Pooradise's customs are very corrupt, a lot of the shipments made to us never get here because the customs officials steal the merchandise and sell it (don't know to whom, but we actually lost a whole box of pre-made agarose for gel electrophoresis, i wonder what they thought it was). Another thing is that these days, with our paranoid, opressive and the-US-is-trying-to-kill-the-president-bullshit government, customs are opening all mail packages coming in and going out "to ensure no confidential information is sent over to the enemy" (like they've never heard of the internet eh?). Bullshit! they're looking for stuff to steal. Yes they get paid very little but that is not our fault and doesn't give them the right to steal my gels.

But anyway, on to the reason why saving is wrong.

First, there's the notion that the kids' parents are paying through the nose to get them to study here. In other words, the department should have enough money available from the school so that the kids can do all experiments properly and learn. By limiting resources you're limiting the children's education, and thus the money the parents pay for the school is unjustified. So for money's sake, we better keep the children happy so the parents are happy. Otherwise the parents will take the kids to one of the other 2 international highschools in town, which aren't as good as this one, but if resources get limited by saving, the quality also goes down which then puts us right there where the other 2 schools are.

And the second notion is, why buy it if you're not going to use it? It's like a guy I know that got a bottle of Glenfiddich single malt special reserve whisky as a gift for his 20th anniversary at the company he worked for (he's an older guy). I must say that's some pretty nice booze. He has not opened it. The reason? He's waiting for an ocassion special enough to merit opening it. He got the bottle in or around 1989, not sure. The problem? Aside that he got the bottle back when Indiana Jones was the coolest and Jordache pants were in style, he's also not a whisky drinker, he doesn't like it and would much rather drink good russian vodka.

Same is happening here with the silver nitrate. We buy it, we wait for experiments that would merit opening it but since we got plenty of cheap lead nitrate, we replace all reactions that would use silver nitrate with lead nitrate.

AH! but there's always a hidden agenda as well.

If you think of who gave the order to save the silver nitrate, you might see some hidden reasons behind it. The chair of the department is also the chemistry teacher. He's been teaching here for about 4 years, a couple of years more than any other teacher in the department and thus was made chairperson, which makes him think he's special, which he isn't because he's getting paid the same as all other teachers but has to work a bit more than everybody else. It's like getting promoted from corporal to sargeant in the army, same shitty pay for a 10-fold increase in responsibilities.

I've noticed he has a tendency to be pushy because he thinks his experiments and his demos are more important than anybody else's. He will give me the request sheet one week in advance and bug me from the get go, asking me to finish his stuff first, without considering i might have other experiments on the waiting list that are due before his. I prioritize depending on procedure, time requirements and especially when the experiment is due.

This leads me to believe that in his selfish and inconsiderate mind he thinks he has priority for the nitrate and that HE will decide which experiment merits the silver nitrate, namely, his experiments. I will see is this is true or not, eventually.

But anyway. In between writing this post, which i started at 8am and finished at 11am, i did the prep for the experiment and i'm a bit dizzy from not having enough cafeine in my system.

Which reminds me i left the magnetic stirrer on.