Thursday, 23 January 2014

By on January 23rd, 2014 in science kits

10:34 – As it turns out, we won’t be using that U-Line packing foam I mentioned yesterday. I called U-Line to ask about shipping cost for the bundle of twelve 6″x2000′ rolls. The product itself costs only $26 for 12,000 square feet. The problem is that it has to be shipped by motor freight, which adds nearly $100 to the final price. The U-Line guy suggested an alternative, a single 12″x1,200′ roll, which is UPS-able. The problem with that is that it costs $47 per roll, not counting the UPS shipping charges, which’d probabably be around $30/roll. So, I could get 12,000 square feet for something over $100 delivered, or 1,200 square feet–one tenth as much–for around $75 delivered. What a deal.

So I’m going to go the low-tech route. USPS specifies that “Sufficient absorbent material that will not react chemically with the hazardous material must fully surround each inner receptacle and be capable of absorbing the entire liquid contents of the inner receptacle(s) in case of leakage.” For all of the regulated chemicals we ship other than sulfuric acid, paper towels meet that criterion. So we’ll just use paper towels to pad everything other than sulfuric acid, for which we’ll use thin bubble-wrap. I don’t even have to buy the bubble-wrap. We get plenty of it in incoming shipments.

24 Comments and discussion on "Thursday, 23 January 2014"

  1. Chuck W says:

    There was a shooting a couple days ago at Purdue University. A friend and I were trying to get some information about it, as both of us are in Lafayette, near the campus about once every other month. Not much in the Indiana media—short sketchy stories, nothing in the NYTimes. But look to Britain for better coverage of the US than the US media does on itself:

    LOTS more facts in there about both the shooter and his victim than in any of the local media.

  2. ech says:

    Isn’t U-Line foam available from a local vendor?

  3. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Dunno. It doesn’t really matter, as long as we meet the shipping requirements. Using the foam is no faster than using paper towels, and we’ve yet to have a single glass bottle break during shipping. Other glass items, yes, but never a bottle.

  4. Lynn McGuire says:

    One of the things that Ron White says that I love: “I’m from Texas. In Texas we have the death penalty. And we USE it. That’s right, if you come to Texas and kill somebody, we will kill you back. That’s our policy.”

    “”It’s the police officer’s fault for not having searched me good,” Tamayo later told police.”

    Even if it did cost ten million dollars (guesstimate) and take 20 years to execute this piece of trash.

  5. Jack Smith says:

    Bought a gallon of solder flux from McMaster Carr in a plastic jug and it arrived in a large box with vermiculite fill as the absorbent.

    Your local garden center should have vermiculite but it’s probably not the “special” vermiculite for hazardous chemical shipment.

  6. SteveF says:

    Isn’t vermiculite what Australians put on sandwiches? Help me out here, Miles_Teg.

  7. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I think you must mean marmite. Even Aussies wouldn’t eat vermiculite.

  8. SteveF says:

    I might have been thinking about catamites. So hard to keep these things straight, though “straight” and “catamite” don’t really go together. “Hard” and “catamite” might, depending on tastes, but taste gets us back to sandwiches, which is where we started.

  9. Lynn McGuire says:

    Dadgumit, who left the door open to the North Pole? It was 68 F here in the Land of Sugar at noon. It was 36 F by 7 pm and sleeting.

  10. Chuck W says:

    Feels like Minnesota here in Tiny Town. One above F at the moment (-18°C) with about 20 mph wind gusts taking the wind chill down to around -20F. Jetstream forecast only goes to Wed of next week, but it is supposed to stay well south of us through then. It is going to be cold for a while.

  11. Miles_Teg says:

    “I think you must mean marmite. Even Aussies wouldn’t eat vermiculite.”

    Australians eat Vegemite. That’s why we punch far above our weight at the Olympics. We’ve got it and you guys haven’t. That’s why you’re all so pathetic and limp wristed.

    Marmite is for Poms.

  12. Marcelo Agosti says:

    ” Australians eat Vegemite. …We’ve got it and you guys haven’t.”

    Actually, I think KRAFT bought it so it should be more like:

    You’ve got it we eat it.

    Although I actually don’t…

  13. Miles_Teg says:

    Well, Kraft need to improve their marketing in the US, if they’re good patriotic Yanks. Think of all the extra Olympic gold they’d get.

    You’re missing out Marcelo.

  14. brad says:

    This could be a new SAT question:

    Vegemite is to Aussies as ______ is to Scots?

    a. Kilts
    b. Haggis
    c. England
    d. Nessie

  15. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Once again, a product we can thank an organic chemist for a product. Marmite/vegemite was invented by the great chemist Justus von Liebig, who also pretty much invented organic chemistry. He also invented beef bouillon, not to mention nitrogen fertilizer. This guy was a towering genius among geniuses.

  16. Miles_Teg says:

    Hm, smart guy…

    But he was only a forerunner. At the behest of his employer, Fred Walker & Co, Cyril Callister (, developed the great Australian delicacy Vegemite, long after Liebig had gone to his reward.

    Callister received a doctorate from the University of Melbourne for his work on developing Vegemite. Like Sir Isaac Newton, Callister could say “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”, and one of the giants was Liebig.

    Yet another Baptist who made a giant contribution to humankind!

    I’ve always thought pretty highly of Josiah Gibbs (, a physicist/mathematician who occasionally dabbled in chemistry in his spare time. 🙂

    Of course, all chemists are (honorary) physicists, in the same way that all nuclear physicists are physicists.

  17. Miles_Teg says:

    Another smart physicist sometimes mistaken for a chemist was Friedrich Hund ( I think I first heard of him in Year 12 chemistry (Hund’s Rule,, aka “the bus seat rule”), which is why I thought at first that he was merely a chemist… 🙂

  18. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Merely a chemist? MERELY A CHEMIST!


  19. Miles_Teg says:

    Well, I gotta tell you the truth, even if it hurts your feelings…

    The ranking, of course, is:

    1. Mathematicians

    2. Physicists (a major interesting and valuable sub-discipline of maths)

    3. Chemists (a minor and occasionally useful sub-discipline of physics)

    I have it on good authority that Einstein, Becquerel, Hund, von Neumann, the Braggs, J. J. Thompson and many others originally considered careers in chemistry but their advisers put them on the right track… 🙂

  20. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    You have that backwards. Physics is a sub-discipline of chemistry.

  21. bgrigg says:

    Not many people know that Kraft Foods was a Canadian idea, like most things “American”, such as Superman, basketball, or even the Hardy Boys. J.L. Kraft was born in Ontario and moved to Chicago to start a door to door dairy business. It failed, with a loss of $3000 and a horse. But he persevered, and bought his first acquisition, a Canadian cheese company. Kraft was a devout man who gave credit for his success for his faith and belief to cheeses. Padumtish!

    Vegemite tastes exactly like it was created by an organic chemist, one who was just finished making fertilizer in the same crucible without washing it first.

  22. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Well, it’s always best to make the vegetmite second. You wouldn’t want to pollute the fertilizer.

  23. Miles_Teg says:

    Just think you two, if not for your prejudices you could have been world class athletes.

Comments are closed.