An interesting post at The 12 Angry Men Blog - "Endangered Species - The Chemistry Set". That prized toy of my youth, those vials and bottles, and tubes of elemental mystery is about as safe as the dodo on the road to extinction. Yet one more casualty of the war on terrorism. Or is it?
I remember my chemistry set with some fondness and I am sure that like most pre-teen boys who had one, the most fun was making smoke and things that went BANG!!, which is of course the last thing that people want happening today. I know that as a society we want to be safe, and ensure a certain amount of security for all, so getting the chemicals that do go BANG!! should be a little more difficult than going to Toys R'Us. But is the impending death of the chemistry set just a result of the socio-political climate we live in or something else as well? Could it be that the chemistry set is slipping into history because it doesn't come with batteries and a joystick and in fact, is the chemistry set another casualty of the Internet Age?
Book reading is down, TV-watching is down and time on the Internet is up. Between games, IM, social networking, and surfing, where does today's child have time to play with a chemistry set, unless of course it's 3-D Flash movies of chemical reactions, molecules, and compounds on a fully-interactive, dynamic web site. When I studied the Table of Elements it was a wall poster or a page in a textbook - now it's a full-colour animated, hyper-link work of Internet art. So while the main cause of the demise of the chemistry set may be the times we live in, a co-conspiratorin the death of the chemsirty set has to be the life kids lead today - indoors, exploring the world through electronics and technology - how can a chemistry set compete with that? Now go out and play! Hmmm...
(Picture - "DSCF0040 by Improbcat)