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Author Topic: Science Felony in Florida  (Read 1799 times)

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Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Science Felony in Florida
« on: May 07, 2013, 01:22:07 AM »
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/02/florida-science-experiment-charges

Oh-kay.

When I was in high school I had a teacher who brought in a balloon full of some gas that made a right nice bang when he lit the string it finally burst. We had a few accidents of this scale in my classroom.

Let's see.. if they were all incarcerated. (ducks into facebook to check up on some class mates)
-one doctor wouldn't have been made (20 year vet in the Army)
-three teachers.
-one preacher (with four lovely kids)
-two moms
-one dad
-one 19 year vet in the Air Force
-and me

Online Vekseid

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 02:58:43 AM »
It's Polk county, Florida. In the proud tradition of that county, she's being charged with Doing Science While Black.

It's up there with the Pine Ridge reservation as one of the most shameful places in the nation.

Offline consortium11

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2013, 03:04:44 AM »
There have been several victims of this "zero-tolerance" approach in schools. Off the top of my head there was a guy who was three weeks from graduation who was expelled after he left two steak knives in the back of his truck following a camping trip and a girl who was expelled after she accidentally picked up her father's (identical) lunchbox which had a small paring knife in it (along with an apple).

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2013, 03:11:05 AM »
It's ridiculous.  People ought to know better. He'll anyone who went to school before the PC era (political Correctness) did worse. I used to bring my camping gear on week ends I did Order of the Arrow or Boy Scout events. We're talking hatchet, knives , and such.

I know about Polk County Veks.  Never heard of Pine Ridge though

Offline Oniya

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2013, 07:06:35 AM »
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/may/02/florida-science-experiment-charges

Oh-kay.

When I was in high school I had a teacher who brought in a balloon full of some gas that made a right nice bang when he lit the string it finally burst. We had a few accidents of this scale in my classroom.

Let's see.. if they were all incarcerated. (ducks into facebook to check up on some class mates)
-one doctor wouldn't have been made (20 year vet in the Army)
-three teachers.
-one preacher (with four lovely kids)
-two moms
-one dad
-one 19 year vet in the Air Force
-and me

We actually did an experiment where we generated small amounts of hydrogen and lit it off.  On purpose.  Not much, just about a test-tube full - it sounded about like a broken balloon when it went off, but still.  My sisters have stories about science teachers dropping small lumps of sodium into water containers.  (Might've even been the same teacher, since they went to The Other High School.)

Offline Sasquatch421

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2013, 07:19:40 AM »
It's ridiculous.  People ought to know better. He'll anyone who went to school before the PC era (political Correctness) did worse. I used to bring my camping gear on week ends I did Order of the Arrow or Boy Scout events. We're talking hatchet, knives , and such.

I know about Polk County Veks.  Never heard of Pine Ridge though

Heck you should seen my high school during any hunting season rifles and shotguns in their vehicles in the school parking lot. One of my classmates even had the shotgun go off in his little Chevette the one day and put a nice hole in the floorboards....

Offline Serephino

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2013, 08:55:46 AM »
As my boyfriend says, they don't enforce these rules when they should, but enforce them on stupid shit.  In a school district he went to, a 5 year old kid got hauled off in handcuffs because on Halloween he came to school dressed as a fireman, and brought a plastic axe.  It wasn't even a real weapon he got arrested for.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2013, 09:47:11 AM »
As my boyfriend says, they don't enforce these rules when they should, but enforce them on stupid shit.  In a school district he went to, a 5 year old kid got hauled off in handcuffs because on Halloween he came to school dressed as a fireman, and brought a plastic axe.  It wasn't even a real weapon he got arrested for.


Oh that wasn't traumatic at all. Seriously?

Offline Trieste

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2013, 05:33:23 PM »
Um.

According to other news sources, she was not just doing a harmless science experiment, she was making a fucking bomb. Making hydrogen pop and explode, dropping sodium into water, and dropping Mentos into Coke - especially if it's a science teacher who is doing these things, so in theory it's not unsupervised - is one thing, but making explosives is an entirely different matter altogether.

I don't care if she's black, white, yellow, purple, or chartreuse, you're damn right she should be expelled and prosecuted for that.

Online Missy

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2013, 06:58:09 PM »
I'm all for getting both sides of the story, but 'other news sources' is pretty vague.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2013, 07:01:40 PM »
Um.

According to other news sources, she was not just doing a harmless science experiment, she was making a fucking bomb. Making hydrogen pop and explode, dropping sodium into water, and dropping Mentos into Coke - especially if it's a science teacher who is doing these things, so in theory it's not unsupervised - is one thing, but making explosives is an entirely different matter altogether.

It was aluminum reacting with hydrogen chloride or sodium hydroxide (depending on the drain cleaner, but my bet is on hydrogen chloride) to produce hydrogen gas which popped the top off the bottle.

Offline Neysha

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2013, 07:59:15 PM »
Another victim of Zero Tolerance.

Hopefully if we can combine mandatory minimum sentencing along with this, we can throw this blossoming felon into prison for at least two decades minimum. ;)

Offline Trieste

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2013, 08:00:23 PM »
I'm all for getting both sides of the story, but 'other news sources' is pretty vague.

It isn't difficult to find other sides of the story and analyze them according to your knowledge of the source.

It was aluminum reacting with hydrogen chloride or sodium hydroxide (depending on the drain cleaner, but my bet is on hydrogen chloride) to produce hydrogen gas which popped the top off the bottle.

And it's awesome that it only popped the top off the bottle and produced a little smoke, because the spray from the bottle can cause some pretty nasty burns. Additionally, it's a good thing she didn't use a glass bottle. The fact that it didn't hurt anyone is good, but it doesn't change the fact that she was knowingly making a deliberately contained very exergonic reaction (which is pretty much the definition of 'bomb') on school grounds. It doesn't change the fact that someone - most likely her, in fact - could have gotten hurt.

Even Snopes, which is all about "Don't panic, Internet!" when it comes to email warnings and whatnot, outlined the kind of things that can happen with the kind of bomb this girl was making:

Quote
Although the force of pressure-based bombs may seem small when compared to other types of explosives (such as gunpowder-based ones), any form of explosive has the potential to cause serious injury, and since bottle bombs have no conventional fuse they can be dangerously unpredictable, exploding earlier or later than their wielders expect. [...] Additionally, the caustic cleaning agents used in bottle bombs can cause severe burns when they come into contact with skin (either through spillage in the construction of the bombs or through being sprayed widely in the resulting explosions) and produce toxic fumes.

I know that the fact that these things are made from household chemicals makes them seem innocuous and kinda make people want to say "kids will be kids", but one of the explosives that I'm currently dealing with in my research can be made with three very, very simple-to-obtain products and yet I still am required to have trained bomb squad personnel handle them for me. I can use reference standards in my research in amounts no higher than about 100 micrograms. Why? Because it is that unstable and dangerous in higher quantities. Like, 'Trie no longer has fingers on her right hand' kind of dangerous.

From three common household ingredients.

She made a mistake. She acted thoughtlessly. I get that. She's 16. I don't think she should be locked up and the key thrown away. However, she was playing with something that really is serious and it does need to be met with serious consequences. I'm not unsympathetic but you know what? I bet she's probably going to be a whole lot less thoughtless now in her science experiments, and considering the fact that the booms only get bigger the farther you advance in the sciences, that's not a bad thing.

Edit for clarity.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 08:01:49 PM by Trieste »

Offline Shjade

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2013, 10:01:11 PM »
I'm not unsympathetic but you know what? I bet she's probably going to be a whole lot less thoughtless now in her science experiments, and considering the fact that the booms only get bigger the farther you advance in the sciences, that's not a bad thing.

Either that or in a few years that county will be explaining why they don't feel responsible for the recent string of bombings that have been traced back to a girl they kicked out of school because she didn't realize what she wanted to do was an expellable offense.

Sources quote the ex-student as having said, "They said I made a bomb? Well, now I made ten. Happy?"

And now the weather. Bob?

Offline Trieste

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2013, 10:45:22 PM »
"I didn't know that making a bomb on school grounds was an expellable offense. P.S. I'm an honors student."

... I... what? :P

Offline Oniya

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #15 on: May 09, 2013, 10:50:49 PM »
Pfft.  The term 'Honors student' doesn't carry the weight it used to.  In the little Oni's 'Honors' classes, there were students listing Albert Einstein as a former POTUS, and Canada, Japan, and Madagascar as US states.  (Yes, she was as appalled as I was.)

Offline Healergirl

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2013, 06:40:38 AM »
This fogs the issue a bit.

http://newsone.com/2440220/kiera-wilmot-florida-science-experiment-2/

If she admitted to knowingly making a bomb... she should be  for sheer stupidity of noting else.  But felony prosecution?  No.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2013, 09:34:26 AM »
This fogs the issue a bit.

http://newsone.com/2440220/kiera-wilmot-florida-science-experiment-2/

If she admitted to knowingly making a bomb... she should be  for sheer stupidity of noting else.  But felony prosecution?  No.

Is that in the video?  Because I didn't see anything like that admission in the article.  (Haven't listened to the video, as I am off to the bank.)

Online Missy

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2013, 10:06:35 AM »
Nope, not in the video.

It's a race issue, period. It sounds to me like they ought to dismiss Glotfelty.

Offline Healergirl

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2013, 10:21:16 AM »
Oniya,

The question of her intent, that bit is  not raised in the link, it is a question I am wondering about myself.   Sorry, I should have made that more clear.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2013, 12:00:59 AM »
I know that the fact that these things are made from household chemicals makes them seem innocuous and kinda make people want to say "kids will be kids", but one of the explosives that I'm currently dealing with in my research can be made with three very, very simple-to-obtain products and yet I still am required to have trained bomb squad personnel handle them for me. I can use reference standards in my research in amounts no higher than about 100 micrograms. Why? Because it is that unstable and dangerous in higher quantities. Like, 'Trie no longer has fingers on her right hand' kind of dangerous.

Good gods you chemists are persnickety. Come by sometime and see my collection of highly aged picric acid bottles that we keep sitting around next to all that formaldehyde and cadmium and mercurichrome and ferro/ferricyanide etc. in case we need them for some kind of histology!

She made a mistake. She acted thoughtlessly. I get that. She's 16. I don't think she should be locked up and the key thrown away. However, she was playing with something that really is serious and it does need to be met with serious consequences. I'm not unsympathetic but you know what? I bet she's probably going to be a whole lot less thoughtless now in her science experiments, and considering the fact that the booms only get bigger the farther you advance in the sciences, that's not a bad thing.

And here is the question from my standpoint: can you thoughtlessly make a bomb? Can you create a weapon by mistake? The classification is kind of an arbitrary one and it depends a lot on the intent of the end user. I make potentially explosive mixtures that could not only send the glass of their containers flying everywhere but also spew carcinogens and toxins (one of which contains a high enough percentage of formaldehyde that it should be lethally toxic on skin exposure). Are these bombs? No. They're fucking reagents and it's dumb to pretend otherwise. Can they be used as bombs. Yes. However, when they are used for their intended purpose they are nothing of the sort. Plenty of things can be used as weapons that are not created nor intended for that purpose, and pretending that 'chemicals' are any different is alarmist.

If people are punished for mistakes made in pursuit of science then we really aren't going to get anywhere fast. This would be like if I called homeland security on my undergrads every time they screwed up with viral vectors because clearly that accident is really bioterrorism. Curiosity sometimes leads to mistakes, mistakes you can't prepare for, mistakes that shouldn't be punished because then curiosity dies. Should you try to do things safely? Yes. Is she lucky she didn't get hurt? Yes. But maybe it would be better for her to sit down with her science teacher and talk about the proper bench safety procedures for next time than it would be to call the cops.

Blunt laws made by a paranoid society tend to be poor tools for justice.

Offline Callie Del NoireTopic starter

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2013, 02:06:58 AM »
The reason that I am thinking this action was a bit severe is a lot like DarklingAlice. I can think of like.. ten 'accidents' of science that occurred during highschool or in service.

-Mixing of avgas types that endangered folks (In the airmen's defense.. it was partly the airforce's fault for giving up the wrong gas)
-Mixing of cleaning chemicals that were improperly labelled.

and on and on.

Some were accidents. Some of them were 'experiments' like the girls. Stupid? Yeah.. worth 20 years and ruining her life with a charge? No.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2013, 07:24:18 AM »
DA's post reminded me of another incident that happened while Mr. Oniya and I were camping once.  It was a LARP event, and the owner of the land had Portajons out for the 'necessities'.  Well, he hadn't had a chance to get them pumped.  A couple of the college-age kids thought 'Hey, this is pretty rank, let's do something about it,' went into town and got a gallon of ordinary chlorine bleach and dumped it down the hole.  It started to smoke.

Okay, all you bio-chem people.  What happens when you leave animal (in this case, human) waste to ferment?  Yup, ammonia.  What happens when you mix ammonia and bleach?  Well...

It took several hours for the toxic cloud to dissipate, during which time, no one could use that set of four Portajons.  In a closed area, that could have been fatal, and would have been classed as a chemical WMD (although, to be fair, the Portajon in its original, pre-bleach state was bordering on that.)  Stupid?  Yes.  Felonious?  No.  In fact, their intent was actually at least benign and possibly benevolent, in that they were trying to give their friends and campmates a more comfortable latrine.

Offline Caela

Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2013, 02:13:46 PM »
Pfft.  The term 'Honors student' doesn't carry the weight it used to.  In the little Oni's 'Honors' classes, there were students listing Albert Einstein as a former POTUS, and Canada, Japan, and Madagascar as US states.  (Yes, she was as appalled as I was.)

That is frightening! I was never an honors student but even I know better than all that...and will make damned sure my own child does too! How can parents let their children remain this ignorant?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Science Felony in Florida
« Reply #24 on: May 12, 2013, 02:20:42 PM »
I'm thinking it's parents who are uninvolved in their kids' education.  Not checking homework, not doing the silly alphabet songs in the early years...

I may not be able to list all the presidents, but I have a greater than 90% chance of telling you if someone was or wasn't - and that's because I might miss some of the more obscure POTUS's  (No one ever remembers Millard Fillmore, honestly.)