Monday, 11 February 2013

07:50 – North Carolina is one of several states that are apparently in the early stages of revolting against the federal government. Every day, it seems, the front page of the paper has another article about one way or another that North Carolina is refusing to cooperate with the feds. We’re opting out of the expansion of Medicaid. As of July 1st, we’re reducing the duration and amount of unemployment benefits significantly, thereby becoming ineligible for the federal extended unemployment benefits program. And some local sheriffs and police chiefs have already said that they won’t cooperate with Obama’s proposed new gun control laws, because they are sworn to uphold the state and federal Constitutions. It wouldn’t surprise me if North Carolina followed Virginia, Utah and several other states in seriously considering introducing a silver- or gold-based state currency. And I’m hearing rumbles about some states considering declaring their residents exempt from paying all federal taxes. This could get interesting.

10:55 – I see the pope is going to abdicate at the end of this month. Media reports say this is the first time a pope has resigned since 1415, but in fact Gregory XII didn’t resign; he was pretty much fired from his pope job and demoted to bishop. IIRC, the RCC was then popeless until after GXII died. It seems to me that this is a great opportunity for the RCC to just wrap things up. Don’t bother electing another pope. Just let things wind down. Sell off all the assets and donate the proceeds to the current RCC members pro rata.

11:55 – I just finished filling 200+ 15 mL bottles with 1% phenolphthalein in IPA. It’s a lot quicker and easier to do that with the bottle-top dispenser rather than manually. The problem with manual filling is that the viscosity of IPA is low enough that it’s difficult to pour into the small opening of a 15 mL bottle without having it run down the sides of the bottle. The only problem with using the bottle-top dispenser is that phenolphthalein is extremely insoluble in water, so cleanup is a bit more involved than usual. Fortunately, phenolphthalein is soluble in basic solutions, so I’ll do multiple passes with a washing soda (sodium carbonate) solution, followed by a dozen passes of tap water, followed by a couple passes of DI water. The involved cleanup is why I did 200+ bottles in one run.

Next up is turmeric reagent, which is a solution of curcumin in IPA. It’s even more of a bitch to clean up, because it stains everything bright yellow, including even glass. For that one, I’ll start with a couple passes of IPA to get most of the staining gone. Curcumin is slightly soluble in sulfuric acid (about 1%), so I’ll follow the IPA wash with a dilute sulfuric acid wash to dissolve whatever curcumin remains. Several rinses in tap water and then DI water should finish the job.

15:25 – An hour or so ago I was surprised to get a call from Barbara’s mom. She was confused, thinking Barbara would be at home. I told her Barbara was at work and that I’d call her and have her return her mom’s call. So, a few minutes ago, Barbara called to say that her mom is going to be released at 2:00 tomorrow afternoon. That throws Barbara’s and Frances’s week into confusion, because the doctor wanted them to have someone with Sankie 24 hours a day. And that doesn’t include Dutch, apparently. So Barbara is going to pick up her mom tomorrow afternoon, take her home, and wait until Frances can get there. I’m not sure what they’ll do after that.