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Crime Science

Bomb Squad Searches House Over Teenager's Chemistry Experiments 431

McGruber writes: On Wednesday, authorities in the south Fulton County, Georgia town of Hapeville shut down a street for hours and used their bomb squad to search a home. According to the suspect's father, the bomb scare started after his 18-year-old son was arrested for trespassing, entering an abandoned warehouse and salvaging mercury switches, which can be used to detonate explosives. When police searched the teen's home on Virginia Avenue at Rainey Avenue in Hapeville, they said they found chemicals inside. "He's not building bombs. He does do a lot of experiments. A lot of them I don't fully understand, but I'm certain he's not making bombs," said the suspect's father, Allen Mason. Mason says chemistry is his son's hobby and he wants to be a chemical engineer. Mason also said police told him what they found is not illegal to own. One neighbor, who couldn't return home for hours, said he didn't feel the teen was a threat. "I don't see a problem with this, but you have to trust the authorities in they're doing what they think is best," said Curtis Ray. In February 2015, Hapeville authorities evacuated businesses and called out the bomb squad to investigate a pinhole camera that was part of a Georgia University Art Project.
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Bomb Squad Searches House Over Teenager's Chemistry Experiments

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:32PM (#50078815)

    "I don't see a problem with this, but you have to trust the authorities in they're doing what they think is best,"

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:35PM (#50078839)

      But why, why, why don't we have more engineers in America. It's because this generation is stupid and lazy.... Hey, that kid is salvaging switches to experiment on! Call in SWAT!

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You gotta wonder why he thought it was OK to trespass and steal switches though.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:05PM (#50079009)

          You gotta wonder why he thought it was OK to trespass and steal switches though.

          I think "abandoned warehouse" had a lot to do with it. Such abandoned industrial locations certainly were looked at as parts repositories by myself and my friends in our school days. Some of the places we scavenged where shut down 10+ years.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Holi ( 250190 )
            still doesn't give you the right to trespass and steal.
            • by o_ferguson ( 836655 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:09PM (#50079031)
              Yes it does. That's the beauty of the commons. Abandoned things belong to all of use. Especially mercury switches, which are likely the only way this kid can get mercury to experiment with.
              • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward

                You can buy mercury using money. Online. The kid is 18, he's not a kid.

                • by DarkTempes ( 822722 ) on Friday July 10, 2015 @02:40AM (#50080129)

                  In some ways, biologically, he is still a kid. The part of your brain that does risk management doesn't mature for most people until around 25.
                  You'll notice your car insurance rates went down a lot around that age.

                  Just because there's some arbitrary legal age for adulthood doesn't mean reality actually reflects that.

                • by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Friday July 10, 2015 @02:57AM (#50080149) Journal

                  Yes, you must BUY things. None of that reuse-crap. Or preventing toxic materials from entering the general environment.

                  And whatever corporations must be permitted to abandon their property in whatever condition they want, for the government to later clean up.

              • by david_bonn ( 259998 ) <davidbonn AT mac DOT com> on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:29PM (#50079355) Homepage Journal

                Oh, and by the way, mercury is a toxic substance with pretty specific rules with respect to disposal. I doubt leaving it in an abandoned warehouse is complying with those rules.

                Seriously, some kid likes to play with chemistry. Good on him.

                I made plenty of bombs when I was a kid. Even had a cop talk to me. All he said was make sure nobody got hurt and don't start a fire you can't put out.

                • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

                  Oh, and by the way, mercury is a toxic substance with pretty specific rules with respect to disposal. I doubt leaving it in an abandoned warehouse is complying with those rules.

                  Yes, a business would always dispose of things properly [wikipedia.org].

              • by GoddersUK ( 1262110 ) on Friday July 10, 2015 @12:06AM (#50079841)
                This, ladies and gentlemen, is why you should never take legal advice from a Slashdot commenter.
            • by Rasperin ( 1034758 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:14PM (#50079045)
              You are right, it doesn't, but good chance we all have done similar. If not, I weep for your young adulthood. It was abandoned and a calculated risk of a kid who couldn't afford to buy his own. This is what we call a gray area, the intention was fine by most but by the law, his life will be ruined in the pursuit of further knowledge.

              Yay America.... Where gaining and pursuing knowledge is socially unacceptable.
            • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:18PM (#50079305)

              still doesn't give you the right to trespass and steal

              I think I can see the picture now ...
               
              In the brave new world we live in the authority can and will break into people's house with a drop of a hat, and they have that "anti-terrorism" thing to fall back on

              In the same brave new world nobody is permitted to go anywhere, rummage for anything, or they will be charged with 'trespassing', 'stealing', or any kind of trumped up charge TPTB decides to use

              In other words, the people will become timid, self-restricting, and the overlord will get to wield any power they wish

              In case you guys still do not see it yet --- living under this type of "brave new world" is not that much different from living inside area controlled by Islamic State or the North Korean regime

              • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

                There is a difference between rummaging say in a trash can/dumpster/pile of rotting and rusting stuff in an open field where the owner has clearly formed the intent to discard the items and entering a building and removing things.

            • Trespass and Steal (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:25PM (#50079339)

              still doesn't give you the right to trespass and steal.

              Spoken like one who never had any adventures as all a kid.

              I mean, granted, he's 18 so he's legally an adult for most purposes, but the proper response is still a "you have to make sure owner X doesn't mind", not a "you little thief!" Unless they have a major problem with this particular 18 year old or they just won't stop, you solve this with conversation.

              Kids break laws every day. Things like trespassing (shortcut through a neighbor's yard), assault & battery (fighting another kid without their consent or other legal defense), defamation (your mom's a ____), and a dozen other things.

            • To be fair, he wasn't swatted for trespass. He was swatted for "teh chemicals!!11!!11!one!1!".
      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        Wait just a moment here. Its not like he just purchases some perfectly legal stuff, and that prompted a police raid.

        He committed crimes, trespass and theft. That is one of the reasons we have police to investigate crimes. They discovered that the things taken were of a nature know to have dangerous applications. The followed up in a way that was reasonable if perhaps more cautious than I might have been given the suspect was just a middle class teenager.

        When someone buys chemicals/guns/tools etc by walk

    • by bledri ( 1283728 )

      "I don't see a problem with this, but you have to trust the authorities in they're doing what they think is best,"

      Wow, first post and first Godwin.

      There is a big difference between, "police investigate suspicious activity and determine there is no threat" and "secret police ferret out Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and send to death camps." Yes, it's a bummer that basic curiosity and experimentation is suspicious and that we live in a society so scared of terrorism that we jump at shadows. But Nazis? Please...

      • Yes, it's a bummer that basic curiosity and experimentation is suspicious and that we live in a society so scared of terrorism that we jump at shadows. But Nazis? Please...

        It's not about what the cops did, it's about the sheepish reaction from the neighbor, whose "Don't question authority" attitude lends itself to the formation of authoritarian regimes. Eternal vigilance to tyranny is the price of liberty, but most people are more concerned with bread and circuses because thinking is too hard.

    • by gavron ( 1300111 )

      Lol, YOU GOT IT RIGHT.

      "Trust" requires choice. If you "have" to it's not trust.

      I call Godwin.

  • Meth (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    A ton of Slashdotters typically start railing on about excessive safety/ risk adversion culture bu the reality is that modern day law enforcement frowns very heavily on private labs of any description especially chemical labs. Outside of someone living in a mansion in the middle of nowhere, any and all labs are going to be suspected of drug manufacture and materials will be confiscated under whatever regulations.

    Eventually, they'll start doing this to makers and 3D printers as well over gun parts or illici

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:40PM (#50078867)

    "salvaging mercury switches, which can be used to detonate explosives"
    "...switches, which can be used to detonate explosives"
    "...switches, which are used to detonate explosives"
    "...switches...explosives"
    "...explosives"

    ARREST HIM!!!

    Really? Wires are used to make explosives too. Duct tape is used to make explosives. Solder is used to make explosives.
    What's our plan? Arrest all the electricians, day laborers and jewelry craft hobbyists as terrorists?

    I think we're well past the point of intellect here and it's long since been illegal to be inquisitive and inventive. Don't ask questions, child. Your role is to consume: You should consume. Now go play with this ball...

  • by Bruce66423 ( 1678196 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:40PM (#50078871)
    If the police knew the community, they could have asked about the kid and found out the background. Unfortunately that sort of intelligence - in both senses - is lacking in police forces these days, so they just charge in and make idiots of themselves. Actually the judge that granted the warrant should be shouted at as well - he should have asked those questions...
    • they could have asked about the kid and found out the background.

      But whenever the media asks a serial killer's neighbors about him, they always say "He was very polite and mostly kept to himself. We had no idea.".

  • no you dont (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:49PM (#50078919)

    "I don't see a problem with this, but you have to trust the authorities in they're doing what they think is best," said Curtis Ray.

    Um... no you don't

    • Yeah, this is the scariest part of the story. No way can you trust the "authorities" do Do The Right Thing nowdays.
      • by jc42 ( 318812 )

        Yeah, this is the scariest part of the story. No way can you trust the "authorities" do Do The Right Thing nowdays.

        Hmmm ... Do you know a time and place were you could trust them?

        If you think this is something new and unusual, you haven't read much history ...

  • Paranoia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArylAkamov ( 4036877 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:49PM (#50078921)

    I love how they say that Mercury switches can detonate explosives, as if any other switch can't.

    This is exactly the reason I got out of the hobby, too many hobbyists getting raided (Especially after 9/11). And if they do decide they want to go after you, you're screwed. Magnetic stirrers, pyrex glasses, even coffee pots can be considered "bomb making equipment" in their eyes.

    • I just read the article a bit more.

      "He let police search the house to examine all his materials and chemicals, where they found some things they told him could be used to create explosives."

      Almost anything can be used to create explosives. Got acetone? How about some hydrogen peroxide in your bathroom cupboard?

      Even the citric acid in orange tang can be used as a catalyst. I guarantee every person reading this has some chemicals in their house that could be used to create explosives.

      • Re:Paranoia (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @10:02PM (#50079477)
        Vitamin C is a reducing agent and makes a pretty good explosive if you have an oxidizer, even a mild one like a nitrate salt. It has an electron pair that it's dying to get rid of.
        I used to make nitrogen triiodide out of iodine and ammonia. In an excess of ammonia it seemed pretty stable, but once the stuff dries out, a feather can make it detonate. I'd leave a soaked paper towel in front of some other kid's house, run off, and once it dried... kaboom! So of course, I spilled it on my shirt once, and the crystals were already going snap-crackle-pop before I could take it off. I remember my mother asking why my shirt was making such a racket.
        • Haha, I always wanted to try making some but the sensitivity is just insane. That and it seems the older you get, the more serious you take the consequences, be it bodily harm or legal.

          • It seems pretty stable if you keep it under ammonia. In fact I had some in a bottle of ammonia for a few weeks. I uncovered it later and was really surprised- the black powder had undergone some sort of metamorphosis into these large bright orange opaque crystals, kind of pretty looking actually. I still don't know what that stuff was; and never found any information ever since. I guess people don't do much research into nitrogen triiodide.
    • package bomb (Score:4, Interesting)

      by anyaristow ( 1448609 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:00PM (#50078977)

      I love how they say that Mercury switches can detonate explosives, as if any other switch can't.

      A mercury switch operates on gravity. Tilt a package (like, say, pick it up carelessly, or rotate it to face the label up to read who sent it) to complete the circuit.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      So, mercury switches are more interesting to law enforcement than other types. He was into experimenting with chemicals. He was caught trespassing to acquire mercury switches. Of course he was interesting to law enforcement.

      • Re:package bomb (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ArylAkamov ( 4036877 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:15PM (#50079057)

        I used to use them all the time. They have (Well, had) many applications other than a bomb. I've probably got half a dozen in the form of floating lights for fishing nets. They were also frequently used in vending machines/pinball tables (Tilt alarm), cars for trunk/hatch lights, hazardous locations (Interrupting the circuit would not emit a spark).

        I hate how chemistry is now an "off-limits" hobby. It's like trying to look up anything involving electrical schematics with a computer in a public place, such as a library. I frequently have people I have never met or seen before sneak up behind me and exclaim loudly "IS THAT A BOMB?". No, dipshit. Not everything home made with wires and capacitors is a bomb.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A mercury switch operates on gravity. Tilt a package (like, say, pick it up carelessly, or rotate it to face the label up to read who sent it) to complete the circuit.

        A ball bearing in a tube with contacts at the end can do exactly the same thing.

      • Why wouldn't you just use a ball bearing?
    • Re:Paranoia (Score:4, Funny)

      by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:16PM (#50079069) Homepage Journal

      I love how they say that Mercury switches can detonate explosives, ... even coffee pots can be considered "bomb making equipment" in their eyes.

      That's why the (nearly empty) cup of coffee on the table next to me was made in a small saucepan on the stove. Actually, it's mostly because it makes better-tasting coffee than any of the coffee makers that we have stored in the basement, to be brought out when we have a crowd. And I can easily make just one cup, which is normally all I want. (My wife doesn't drink the stuff; she prefers tea, which she also makes in a cup or in a small pitcher for groups).

      Of course, there's a potential danger that the authorities will hear about this, investigate, and decide that I'm making coffee via a Middle-Eastern method, which makes me a terrorist suspect. OTOH, I actually learned the method from my Scandinavian friends and relatives in the Mid-West, so maybe it's OK. And on the third hand, Scandinavians are all liberal socialists, don'cha know?

      In any case, it's getting hard to find anything that can't be considered part of bomb making. Are you breathing oxygen? Don't you know that most explosives work via a reaction with oxygen in the air?

      • Re:Paranoia (Score:4, Informative)

        by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:48PM (#50079415) Homepage

        Don't you know that most explosives work via a reaction with oxygen in the air?

        Actually no, most don't, unless you're talking about fuel-air explosions (which can be bloody huge!). Most solid or liquid explosives use an oxidizer that's part of the mix -- or don't use an oxidizer as such at all, but rather their rather unstable molecular configuration degenerates to a lower energy state with much release of energy and component parts (most high explosives).

        • by jc42 ( 318812 )

          Don't you know that most explosives work via a reaction with oxygen in the air?

          Actually no, most don't, unless you're talking about fuel-air explosions (which can be bloody huge!). Most solid or liquid explosives use an oxidizer that's part of the mix -- or don't use an oxidizer as such at all, but rather their rather unstable molecular configuration degenerates to a lower energy state with much release of energy and component parts (most high explosives).

          (Shhh!!! Don't let on that you know something about explosives, especially high explosives. They'll be after you next. ;-)

    • I think they were concerned he was making Hg fuliminate

    • by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:54PM (#50079215)

      when I was about 12 in the mid 80's I rode my bike 10 miles to Radio Shack and bought all of the Mercury Switches they had (4?) for about $1.50 each. I built people detectors which consisted of a copper tube with batteries, Mercury switch, on/off push button, and siren. When we played hide and seek or paintball I could arm one and put a string across a path. If someone hit the string the siren would go off.

      I lost one or so I thought. A kid found one and took it home. His Mom called the cops because she thought it was a bomb. The kid ratted me out as the builder. The cop showed up at my house and asked me to come look at something. I followed him and one of these devices was in the street. I told the cop what it was and he laughed and told me to pick it up and take it home.

      I can't imagine what would happen today.

  • what materials do you have?
  • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:55PM (#50078955) Journal

    They took some chemicals from my son's chemistry stocks that they're going to take and test in their lab that they felt were dangerous chemicals

    "Your honor, our lab tested every one of the bottles and found that this evil person had 83 bottles of marijuanas!"

  • Look, it isn't unreasonable for the police to search a home of someone they found trespassing. If they bring charges on anything beyond trespassing, that would be unreasonable and very wrong.

    But, who wants to bet that the kid was white keep in mind they did not pressed charges. If the kid had been black....

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      At the very most he should be charged with trespassing (for being somewhere he wasn't allowed to be) and theft (for stealing the mercury switches) and given a minimal punishment along with clear instructions not to go places he isn't allowed to go or take things that don't belong to him.

    • Look, it isn't unreasonable for the police to search a home of someone they found trespassing.

      It should be. If the trespasser was strongly suspected of stealing, sure. But just because someone is trespassing at site A doesn't mean it makes sense to search site B.

  • A lot of them I don't fully understand, but I'm certain he's not making bombs

    There's a lot of steps in making explosives which don't look pretty innocuous if you don't know what you're looking for.

    For example, when I was a teen we used to make black powder in large batches. In Canada, a teen couldn't just go into a store and buy it, and even getting hold of large quantities of potassium nitrate was challenging. So we did chemistry using readily available things like fertilizer and drain cleaner.

    The end resu

    • by AJWM ( 19027 )

      In Canada, a teen couldn't just go into a store and buy it, and even getting hold of large quantities of potassium nitrate was challenging.

      Don't know how old you are, but when I was a kid in Toronto in the mid-1960s we could (and did) go down to the local drug store and buy potassium nitrate in 1-pound containers. Ditto sulphur, so long as you weren't stupid enough to try to buy both at the same time. (At least we never tried that, we just assumed that the cashier would be at least as knowledgeable as

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 09, 2015 @07:57PM (#50078967)

    "He let police search the house to examine all his materials and chemicals, where they found some things they told him could be used to create explosives."

    Well. That's a very broad range of possibilities there. I could (hypothetically speaking) create explosives from wheat flour - all I need do is mix it with the right amount of air and light a match. Granted, not a particularly useful explosive, but it'd be an explosive nonetheless. An LPG tank, of the sort that can be found around many houses, is potentially explosive. Standard agricultural fertiliser is well known to be potentially useful as a precursor to explosives. And on, and on, and on. Chemistry and explosives are so intricately interlinked, it is impossible to separate them - not if you're looking to learn something significant.

    "Mercury switches can be used to detonate explosives"? Well, so can a simple battery with a timer. Doesn't mean that that's what was going to happen.

    What happened to the benefit of the doubt? Of talking to people, understanding what they're up to, and having a calm, measured response? Oh, that's right, society in general is moving towards a police state, and even if somebody is not up to no good, we have to make society think that they are, so that we can justify these new laws and procedures...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "Mercury switches can be used to detonate explosives"? Well, so can a simple battery with a timer. Doesn't mean that that's what was going to happen.

      For anyone who has a modicum of Chemistry education, it's crystal clear that the kid was after the Hg in the switches, as the contents of wet-contact switches is about the only way to obtain that fascinating metal in a hobby setting.

      BTW, Hg compounds are still used as detonators (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury(II)_fulminate [wikipedia.org])

    • Regarding the wheat flour, did you hear about the powder explosion in Taiwan that injured over 200 and killed at least 1 a couple of weeks ago?

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new... [dailymail.co.uk]

      The video is terrifying, people running through an inferno.

      It was a very "useful" (effective is probably a better word) explosive, but it was unintended (although the people putting on the show had been warned it could be explosive).

      Seriously, check out the video (might need to check Youtube, I can't get it to play but that's par for

    • ...that we are designed to live in relatively small communities. In a small village everyone know what everyone is doing or their nature well enough to trust them. Sometimes this is a mistake, it is not the stranger that is the danger. When you get larger communities it starts to break down.

  • Mercury Switches, can also, not surprisingly, be used to turn lights on.

    Cell phones can be used to detonate explosives - so we need to raid the home of anyone that might have a cell phone.
    Copper wire can be used to detonate explosives ...
    Clock Radios ...

  • by jeffb (2.718) ( 1189693 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:06PM (#50079017)

    I'm sure they did find substances that could be used to create explosives -- heck, let's call a spade a spade, and acknowledge that they're precursors. Things like:

    Water -- simply pass an electric current through it to generate a tremendously explosive mix of hydrogen and oxygen gas.

    Air -- a critical component, and by far the major component by volume, of the infamous "fuel-air explosive".

    Aluminum foil -- ball-mill it long enough, and it becomes dark aluminum, a controlled substance used to make flash powder.

    Lunch meat -- a plentiful source of animal fat, which can be saponified to produce glycerine, which can be nitrated to form nitroglycerin.

    Books and other printed material -- almost always printed on paper, consisting mostly of cellulose, which can be nitrated to form nitrocellulose ("smokeless powder").

    I could go on in this vein at great length, but why bother? I've already outlined the case against anyone on the surface of the planet, or off it for that matter.

  • Oh, and yes, "trespassing" is bad -- that's why I'm sure none of us ever did it as children. Never mind that this kid was probably doing a favor for whomever eventually tries to rehabilitate or demolish the building, by removing hazardous materials from it. Something tells me that they don't always go around pulling all these mercury-bearing switches for "proper disposal" before they start demolition.

    But, yeah, if you go in where you're not allowed, you can get in trouble. Especially if you take stuff witho

  • by xeno ( 2667 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:12PM (#50079039)

    The article cites two excellent examples of why the Hapeville bomb squad needs to be dropped from next year's budget. I'm not sure of the county authorities would be any better, but if the local squad's hapless misjudgment of risk leads to wasted funds on response, wasted funds on defending their mistake, wasted funds on legal restitution (I sincerely hope the kid and his parents sue the city), and general loss of reputation for the city... then the bomb squad is a liability in terms of finance, risk, and reputation. The most obvious response is to take the toys away from the idiots.

    Don't fight them, defund 'em.

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @11:37PM (#50079777)

      Good point. I know if I was on the bomb squad I'd be dying for an opportunity to do something. Being on that squad in Hapeville has to be some boring shit. No wonder they jumped at the chance to actually do something....anything.

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      The article cites two excellent examples of why the Hapeville bomb squad needs to be dropped from next year's budget. I'm not sure of the county authorities would be any better, but if the local squad's hapless misjudgment of risk leads to wasted funds on response, wasted funds on defending their mistake, wasted funds on legal restitution (I sincerely hope the kid and his parents sue the city), and general loss of reputation for the city... then the bomb squad is a liability in terms of finance, risk, and reputation. The most obvious response is to take the toys away from the idiots.

      Don't fight them, defund 'em.

      They don't need a bomb squad anyway: Hartsfield International Airport sits literally right in the middle of Hapeville but is considered part of Atlanta and patrolled by APD. They have bomb squad members stationed there and they could be mobilized for any potential threats in the surrounding area. The city of Hapeville could then take the money saved put it into infrastructure because there are some very rough areas around there.

  • by rrohbeck ( 944847 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:22PM (#50079091)

    That could've been me 40 years ago. We had a whole group of bomb makers. They all ended up as chemists/chemistry teachers or MDs; I was the odd one out with CS.

  • According to the suspect's father, the bomb scare started after his 18-year-old son was arrested for trespassing, entering an abandoned warehouse and salvaging mercury switches...

    That fenced-off warehouse may look abandoned, but that doesn't make it your personal salvage yard.

    It's been a long time since the home chemist has been encouraged to muck around with mercury; scavenging industrial sites for mercury in any quantity makes you a "person of interest" to the police, to say the least.

    Fun with Quicksilver [modernmechanix.com], Unusual stunts you can do from Freakish Quicksilver [google.com] 1939 and 1934, respectively.

    ''He's not building bombs. He does do a lot of experiments. A lot of them I don't fully understand, but I'm certain he's not making bombs,'' said the suspect's father, Allen Mason.

    This is a tad less reassuring than it might be.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @08:47PM (#50079193)

    First thing that crossed my mind was this kid is trying to make a Sprengel pump [wikipedia.org].

  • "He does do a lot of experiments. A lot of them I don't fully understand, but I'm certain he's not making bombs," said the suspect's father, Allen Mason"

    Oh? How are you so certain? You just said you don't know what he's doing. Ergo, you don't know what he's doing.

    I know, I know... Slashdotters will all side with the "experimenter", because geek. But it sounds like the police are acting based on evidence, while the defense is acting based on blind faith. In such cases, I side with evidence.
    • by Nyder ( 754090 )

      "He does do a lot of experiments. A lot of them I don't fully understand, but I'm certain he's not making bombs," said the suspect's father, Allen Mason"

      Oh? How are you so certain? You just said you don't know what he's doing. Ergo, you don't know what he's doing.

      I know, I know... Slashdotters will all side with the "experimenter", because geek. But it sounds like the police are acting based on evidence, while the defense is acting based on blind faith. In such cases, I side with evidence.

      As a parent, it's possible that the father actually pays attention to what his kid does with his time. And of course the kid & father can easily have an open relationship, which could mean the kid doesn't hide what he does from his dad. While his dad may not understand the what the kid is doing, but understand the kid enough to know that it's harmless.

  • Thomas Edison (Score:3, Insightful)

    by renzhi ( 2216300 ) on Thursday July 09, 2015 @09:22PM (#50079321)
    If Thomas Edison were to live in our era, there wouldn't be aThomas Edison.
  • It Gets worse (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Friday July 10, 2015 @05:43AM (#50080517)
    I have a friend from South Carolina who moved to Florida and was gone from his home town for five years or so. He felt a strong calling to get back together with his high school sweetheart and after letters and phone calls sent her a package. Instead of the Post Office delivering the package the police came to her home with the package. The police were concerned that the package came from Florida. You know, Florida! The land of perverts, junkies and people who are not baptists. The cops wanted to protect her in case something shocking or perverse was inside this package from the godless land called Florida. So they opened the package in front of her to reveal the treats that girls tend to like such as candy, perfume and other fluff. She then informed them that packages from her boy friend should be allowed to be delivered to her home. This all happened well before 9/11. Apparently small towns in the deep south look at other US states about like we look at Syria or Yemen.

A man is known by the company he organizes. -- Ambrose Bierce

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