helen-louise (baratron) wrote,
helen-louise
baratron

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A crisis of confidence.

Hrm. With all the media going nuts over a possible terrorist attack featuring cyanide gas, I've been looking in my inorganic chemistry books. Simply because I have a chemistry degree, therefore people are going to expect me to know about this stuff. Or something. Apparently while Scotland Yard is refusing to comment that the alleged plot involves cyanide, the government are busy making posters to tell people what to do in the event of this sort of attack. Read into this what you will.

Well, I am now having a major crisis of confidence. Looking through my inorganic chemistry books, I am reminded that I wasn't very good at inorganic chemistry. I was absolutely terrible at organic chemistry, and not even very good at physical or analytical chemistry. That would be me not being very good at... all of the major classes of chemistry, then. And I call myself a chemist? Erk.

Anyway, this This is London article about cyanide is almost accurate - surprisingly so for a science article in a major newspaper. It even explained away my confusion about hydrogen cyanide being liquid at room temperature by explaining that the attacks on the Japanese underground mixed together two other chemicals to form HCN (exothermically - hence it would be released as a gas). And I am extremely amused by the poor Disaronno Amaretto people's failed advertising campaign.

But worry about the chance of dying horribly on the Tube? Nah. I'm far more concerned about the fact that I am apparently completely crap at my chosen subject...
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