Archive for the ‘WWWTP?’ Category

Chemistry Error on Seinfeld

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Something didn’t quite look right when I saw this scene from ‘Seinfeld’ in real time:

Closer inspection of the fire diamond reveals the flammability rating of the paint thinner to be 8:


That’s pretty impressive, considering the maximum score is 4 on the NFPA 704 standard. If acetylene is a 4, I wouldn’t want to be driving around town with an 8 in my trunk.

For those curious, the episode is ‘The Pothole’ from Season 8. The IMDB page for the episode already lists the scene as a goof.

Longtime readers will remember that this is not the only time Jerry Seinfeld has used chemistry for laughs.

WWWTP? – Tristillation of Tequila

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

I talked about this video on Twitter (via @davidperrey) and others have commented on it, but I just wanted to enter it into the WWWTP archive. It is a doozy:

Tristillation is complete b.s., but they really did present it in a lovely manner.

Hat tip: B.J. for e-mailing the link
Elsewhere: Just Like Cooking

Fish and Chips for Chemists

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

This image of a fish-and-chips shop in Glasgow was kindly sent in by longtime reader/commenter Eugene. (Thanks!)


While “organic” oil is great, a silicone oil might help control customers’ gas.

I wonder if this restaurant is owned by the same people as the Boston dry cleaners boasting about their “organic” solvents?

WWWTP? – Markovnikov Edition

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Perfectionists take note: even titans of catalysis make embarrassing mistakes with their chemistry. Just look at this little oopsie that was caught by an astute reader in the Midwest.

It seems like there might be a bit of confusion hanging over the chemists developing methods for anti-Markovnikov hydroamination of alkenes at the Center for Enabling New Technologies Through Catalysis (CENTC):


Ummm….yeah….that’s not the difference between Markovnikov and anti-Markovnikov addition.

Those of you who’ve taken sophomore organic chemistry will remember that Markovnikov’s rule states that protic functional groups (e.g., H-NR’R’) will typically add to double bonds such that the hydrogen adds to the less substituted carbon (and the other group, e.g., -NR’R’, adds to the more substituted carbon.) What Hartwig and coworkers have drawn as the Markovnikov product is still anti-Markovnikov. The products they’ve drawn might charitably be called conformational isomers, but they’ve failed to note any 3-D structure.

Of course, the true Markovnikov product would place the amine on the same carbon as the R group.

WWWTP? – Group 1 Harlem Shake Edition

Thursday, March 21st, 2013


Those are some very colorful Group I halide salts you’ve got there, kiddos. Also, the word is “dissociates” …there’s no need to stick an “ass” in there, no matter how fun it is.