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Home Science Under Attack In Massachusetts

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the and-the-yellow-phthalate-too dept.

Education 1334

An anonymous reader tips a guest posting up on the MAKE Magazine blog by the author of the Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments. It seems that authorities in Massachusetts have raided a home chemistry lab, apparently without a warrant, and made off with all of its contents. Here's the local article from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. "Victor Deeb, a retired chemist who lives in Marlboro, has finally been allowed to return to his Fremont Street home, after Massachusetts authorities spent three days ransacking his basement lab and making off with its contents. Deeb is not accused of making methamphetamine or other illegal drugs. He's not accused of aiding terrorists, synthesizing explosives, nor even of making illegal fireworks. Deeb fell afoul of the Massachusetts authorities for... doing experiments... Pamela Wilderman, the code enforcement officer for [the Massachusetts town of] Marlboro stated, 'I think Mr. Deeb has crossed a line somewhere. This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.' Allow me to translate Ms. Wilderman's words into plain English: 'Mr. Deeb hasn't actually violated any law or regulation that I can find, but I don't like what he's doing because I'm ignorant and irrationally afraid of chemicals, so I'll abuse my power to steal his property and shut him down.'"

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fast first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24571821)

yeah!

AS always... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24571903)

Fuck first post, but mostly FUCK the POLICE! If this guy wants to play with his chemistry set so be it. Let's put all the cops in jail because I'm sure they have crossed the line.

Cannot make first post here! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24571827)

I have the first post! I have the high ground!

Re:Cannot make first post here! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24571879)

ha ha... i got here faster!

Re:Cannot make first post here! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24572077)

Bullshit, that was me!

And they say ... (4, Insightful)

slashdotlurker (1113853) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571835)

... that something is wrong with Kansas ?
These hyper-red and hyper-blue states both have issues with people. The former set of control freaks try to make you a religion borg while the latter set of control freaks try their hand making you a state-uber-alles borg.

Re:And they say ... (2, Insightful)

richardellisjr (584919) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571951)

I'm an agnostic in a very red state (texas) and I can honestly say I can't remember anyone here ever trying to "convert me".

Re:And they say ... (5, Funny)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572095)

Amen to that! Wait a minute...

Re:And they say ... (4, Funny)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572119)

Well Richard, it seems my fellow Texans have been slacking! Let me just take a few minutes to tell you about Jesus, and the wonderful sacrifice he made for you...

Only joking, of course. I'm not from Texas.

Re:And they say ... (2, Interesting)

jdb2 (800046) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572227)

So am I. :) But in contrast to you, I can remember people here trying to "convert" me.

Perhaps you're lucky and live in Austin -- the "Silicon Hills" - the land locked country in Texas where everyone usually has a brain that can think independently. Unfortunately I live in Houston, deep in the "Bible Belt", where there is a church every half mile.

jdb2

America used to be #1 (5, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572059)

There used to be american kids studying home chemistry. We used to have kits to build rockets.

Now, a bunch of silly fools that never took chemistry even in college are doing their best to outlaw what every intelligent child in the 60s and 70s did for fun.

As a result, the US has not been doing groundbreaking chemistry in over a decade.

Granted, computers are a big lure, but chemistry is the basis of our industry. We need to ENCOURAGE kids and adults to do chemistry, not prevent it with idiotic, foolish laws.

If it is not more dangerous than fertilizer and diesel fuel, or styrofoam and gasoline, than it should be legal for a 16 year old kid to buy in the mail, without a license.

Anythinge else is rank hipocracy and stupidity.

P.S. I am not recommending a 12 year old do explosive experiments unsupervised, but I hate to tell you, THEY DO IT ANYWAY. They just go and get an aerosole can and a lighter, instead of ordering a kit.

The More Things Change (5, Informative)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571847)

Chemistry for chemistry's sake has been banned all along. Check out this article [about.com] on how to get your banned pdf copy of one cool 1960s chemistry book with some not-so-cool experiments...

Re:The More Things Change (5, Funny)

Emb3rz (1210286) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572099)

After all, who knows when you might accidentally violate the laws of equivalent exchange and lose an arm...

Re:The More Things Change (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572213)

We all do chemistry on a daily basis, the difference is that we usually don't do it as our daily plan. Brush your teeth, take a bath and even breathing. Cooking is actually an advanced version of chemistry.

The area of chemistry is so wide that it's in no way possible to ban it all. And some people are stupid enough to think that it's dangerous to create huge soap bubbles or analyze the water yourself.

When was it banned? (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572267)

If it was banned back in the 1960's you would have an interesting point. If it was banned in the last 5 years it's just another data point supporting recent changes.

Typical (3, Insightful)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571857)

Sounds like the actions of typical small-minded, small-town bureaucrats who are skilled mainly in keeping and expanding their power.

Zoning gone wild. (3, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572019)

When the officer says, "This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation," he's implying a zoning violation. It can be answered with, "This is not what we consider to be a customary neighborhood nuisance." Zoning laws should protect people from things like junk yards, car dealerships and noisy manufacturing. Going after this man is a stretch of those intentions.

Is anyone surprised? (5, Insightful)

fractalus (322043) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571859)

This is what the environment of hysteria is doing to the US.

Who exactly is terrorizing us these days? Seems like our "elected officials" just want us to be scared all the time so we won't really think about what's going on.

Call the FBI? (5, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571861)

SO call the FBI and complain that the local police entered and arrested you without a warrant. Call the local and national media. Make a big stink about it. Start a website. The Massachusetts police are morons and they need to be put in their place.

Re:Call the FBI? (2, Funny)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571895)

...and they need to be put in their place.

Which is 6 feet under, IMO.

Re:Call the FBI? (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571923)

post it on slashdot?

Re:Call the FBI? (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571961)

Indeed. Massachusetts, allow me to introduce you to the fourth amendment:

>i>The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

This fellow needs to make sure that the local authorities are smacked down. HARD.

Re:Call the FBI? (1)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571989)

Mod parent up.

It's not that I have faith that the feds would do anything - I guess it's more hope than anything...

All that will get accomplished... (1)

Nick Driver (238034) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571999)

...is to get yourself labeled as a crackpot.

Re:All that will get accomplished... (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572091)

...is to get yourself labeled as a crackpot.

Tell me about it . . .

Re:Call the FBI? (2, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572049)

What's the FBI going to do, laugh? The feds use the exact same tactic [treas.gov] , under the guise of "Civil Forfeiture".

People don't care, because the government tells them that it is only used against drug dealers and terrorists, not that such allegations generally get proven beyond the assertion that "the guy must be one or else we wouldn't have taken his car/money/chemistry set".

Re:Call the FBI? (2, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572203)

Civil forfeitures are in rem. In rem refers to a legal action directed solely against the property based on a legal finding that the property itself is used in an illegal manner.

The point is a court decided that the forfeiture was deemed acceptable. In this case no court heard the case that I'm aware of.

Re:Call the FBI? (4, Insightful)

richardellisjr (584919) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572251)

The article doesn't say anything about him being arrested, just that the police were called and a hazmat team was called. From the article it doesn't sound like he was arrested at all just told to stay in a hotel until the cleanup is done.

As for confiscation of his chemicals, it sounds like he had way more chemicals than he should need, and wasn't storing them properly. TFA also says that some were potentially explosive and doesn't mention his qualifications.

Now a lot of people here will be screaming because his property was taken but keep in mind that no illegal search was made (the chemicals were found during an unrelated fire by the fire department), his housing area wasn't zoned for this (do they actually zone housing areas for chemical work?), some of the chemicals were potentially explosive, he had lots of chemicals some in large quantities, he wasn't arrested just asked to leave during the cleanup, his qualifications sound like a hobbyist not a professional.

I don't know about you but I'm not sure I'd want a hobbyist with an extremely large amount of potentially explosive material (stored improperly) doing "experiments" next door to me and my family.

Thus the saying... (0, Flamebait)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571873)

Better living through chemistry!

Please make note that there are ignorant LEFTIES as well, and that this didn't occur in some religious-frenzied backwater.

Re:Thus the saying... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24571953)

"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity." -Harlan Ellison

Stupidity is more than happy to cross party lines.

Re:Thus the saying... (2, Funny)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572145)

That is soo 1970's... Its now better living through pharmacology.

Sad, we got a pill for that
tired, we got a pill for that
sick, we got a pill for that
taking too many pills, we got a pill for that.

Chemicals (5, Insightful)

jmpeax (936370) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571877)

While I agree that this seems rather overzealous on the part of authorities, the original article [telegram.com] mentions something that may be fair:

There are regulations about how much [of various chemicals] you're supposed to have, how it's detained, how it's disposed of.

Depending on the specifics of what this guy's dealing with, he may be subject to rules regarding the safe disposal of certain chemicals, etc.

Re:Chemicals (4, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571925)

Yes, but you usually get a warrant before you bust into someone's house.

Re:Chemicals (1, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572165)

[Y]ou usually get a warrant before you bust into someone's house.

Correction: You used to get a warrant before you bust into someone's house.

For about 7 years now, that has no longer been necessary in the US. The authorities (at any level) can just chant "terrorists", and that gives them permission to go anywhere, and do anything with the people and things they find there.

Re:Chemicals (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24572169)

yeh, but most people aren't busy stockpiling vast quantities of dihydrogen-monoxide and hydrohydroxic acid!
in this case, i think the emergency actions were needed.

Re:Chemicals (3, Informative)

cybrpnk2 (579066) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572237)

Pamela A. Wilderman / Code Enforcement Officer / 508-460-3765

Joseph Ferson / Department of Environmental Protection / Joseph.Ferson@state.ma.us / 617-654-6523

Re:Chemicals (4, Informative)

c41rn (880778) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571941)

For what it's worth, the comments in the linked article say, "What Victor Deeb was working on is the elimination of Bisphenol A, Bisphenol F, (used in container closure coatings) PVC, pthalates (used in food container sealants) BisPhenol A, Bisphenol F and pthalates ( carcinogens) have been detected in baby food, and Dioxin( a very powerful carcinogen the product of incinerating food container closure to recover the metal) from the environment"

Re:Chemicals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24572051)

AFAIK, it is generally not legal to raid someone without some sort of reasonable suspicion. It's also not legal to search through someone's possessions wholesale after confiscating them and finding that the person did not, in any way, break the law you were thinking about; unless it is glaringly obvious they've violated another law.

Otherwise, you have the exact police state Atlas Shrugged told us about: That everyone's guilty, the government just needs the time to find out what they're guilty of.

Re:Chemicals (4, Informative)

pxuongl (758399) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572055)

and also if the original article was actually read before making a sensationalist headline and summary, this isn't as bad as it's made out to be:

1. there was a fire in an air conditioning unit in the home.

2. the fire department responded, and in the course of responding, found hundreds of vials of chemicals.

It's illegal to enter a private residence w/o a warrant, but in this case, the home owner invited the cops in when he called the fire department.

only lesson to be taken home here: hide your stash before calling the cops

Re:Chemicals (1, Troll)

Entrope (68843) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572261)

"[T]he home owner invited the cops in when he called the fire department"? Tell me, when you invite a friend over for a party, do you invite their roommate over to steal your television? If so, I'd like to make your acquaintance. I think I'd get a lot of other new friends.

How Dismal (4, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571891)

I wonder how long before people in possession of scary "hacking software and equipment" are subjected to similar intrusions? Welcome to the NewUSA, where all knowledge is classified.

Re:How Dismal (1)

xenn (148389) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572043)

I wonder how long before people in possession of scary "hacking software and equipment" are subjected to similar intrusions? Welcome to the NewUSA, where all knowledge is classified.

How do you know?

Re:How Dismal (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572193)

That would be classified, sorry.

Re:How Dismal (2, Interesting)

slashdotlurker (1113853) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572081)

Would be fitting too. I have travelled, worked and at times lived in many countries all over the world. In no country did I find this "I-am-*ing-ignorant-and-that-makes-me-a-cool-real-American" attitude. Its the reason why keep electing morons. Its the reason when 95% of the people unhappy with the two party system dutifully turn in every election, and choose, ahem, one of the two parties.
Bush is not the cause of our latest troubles. He is just a loudmouthed, embarrassing symptom. I fear for America. We survived British colonial rule, we survived European interference, we survived Nazism, we survived Communism; others things being equal, I think we would even survive Islamic fascism. However, I do not think we will survive this proud-to-be-stupid anti-intellectualism now so widespread in our ailing society.
I see these racist rednecks driving oil guzzling trucks and SUVs, and then I see these freedom always liberals turning around and making excuses for the most misogynistic, homophobic philosophy that we confront today. The future is not bright.

Re:How Dismal (5, Interesting)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572223)

I wonder how long before people in possession of scary "hacking software and equipment" are subjected to similar intrusions? Welcome to the NewUSA, where all knowledge is classified.

This has already happened once to a friend of mine who collects large systems and does component-level development.

The local HOA lady called the cops because he had so many computers that "He must be doing something illega! Look at all those wiiiires!"

What I want to know... (1)

PJCRP (1314653) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571893)

Is how they knew he had chemicals in his basement in the first place...

Re:What I want to know... (2, Insightful)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571949)

Is how they knew he had chemicals in his basement in the first place...

RTFA.

Re:What I want to know... (1)

PJCRP (1314653) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571981)

Firefighters found more than 1,500 vials, jars, cans, bottles and boxes in the basement Tuesday afternoon, after they responded to an unrelated fire in an air conditioner on the second floor of the home.

So what were they doing in the basement I wonder...

Re:What I want to know... (1)

PJCRP (1314653) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572071)

Jesus christ I'm suffering from brain farts. The article doesn't actually say how they found that the dude had things in his basement :v

Blame the firefighters (1)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572209)

They were probably in the basement checking the breaker box and the electrical connections to the air conditioner, looking for potential electrical fires in the wall, when they found Mr. Wizard's stash.

I suspect they're the ones who turned this into a fiasco. They probably complained that if they were ever to respond to a serious fire at this house, the unknown effects of all those chemicals burning could be deadly. I know TFA said only a few were flammable, but some stuff when it burns releases deadly gases, toxins, etc.

Firefighters want to know that when they enter into a burning house, they are not going to be exposed to the equivalent of a burning college chemistry lab. They get paid to take risks, but some end up with health problems later in life because of all the toxic stuff they've inhaled over the years.

They are probably making an example of this guy as a warning to others with stashes of chemicals.

That said, I don't think the authorities had the right to take over the house and rummage through it. They should get an omelette on their collective faces for that.

Re:What I want to know... (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572259)

Just a WAG, but might the firefighters need to shut off the electrical power before squirting water all over the 2nd floor A/C? Especially if it was an electrical fire...

Re:What I want to know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24571969)

the local kids he had been giving drugs to told them

Re:What I want to know... (1)

Thail (1124331) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572111)

from the article, the chemicles wre found by firefigters who responded to a fire in the second story air conditioning unit. Unrelated to the chemicals.

Re:What I want to know... (1)

PJCRP (1314653) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572199)

Vessels of chemicals were all over the furniture and the floor, authorities said.

So it was his lack of tidiness that got him arrested? :O

They'll find something (4, Insightful)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571907)

If you have enough laws, then anyone is a criminal. They'll either claim its a violation of zoning ordinances, environmental hazard or an OSHA violation.

Re:They'll find something (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572089)

And when you run out of criminals, you make more laws.

Re:They'll find something (3, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572153)

I can't believe that the FBI wouldn't step into this to defend this man. After all, they're under a presidential administration that has, to date, been so pro-science.

Oh wait.

Re:They'll find something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24572175)

Agreed. They will likely be able to press a zoning violation if he didn't adhere to the quantity limits, and definitely for not having the containers marked. None the less I am in agreement that this is a good example of how few rights you, me, and Mr. Deeb actually have.

The good news is that even if he is in violation of some zoning ORDINANCE he still has grounds for unlawful search and seizure. Having been on the receiving end of illegal civil right deprivation, I sincerely hope Mr. Deeb stands up for his rights and sues the living shit out of everyone involved. This is not even some country yokel just playing with chemicals.. he is a very experienced person who has even gotten patents and made all kinds of contributions to the field.

This is just one step on the path to complete and total deprivation of our civil rights.

Police State (2, Insightful)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571909)

This is where we are going. The government is fostering the notion to the police that they have absolute discretion & power. Can you find the limited government here?.. Neither can I.

What's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

ceswiedler (165311) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571919)

From TFA:

"Mr. Deeb's home lab likely violated the regulations of many state and local departments, although officials have not yet announced any penalties."

If they discovered that you were keeping 200 cats in your home under extremely unsanitary conditions, they would do the same thing: move all of the cats to a shelter somewhere, and charge you with violating local health regulations once they had assessed the entire situation. I think it's a little bit of a kneejerk reaction to say that they're "ignorantly and irrationally afraid of chemicals" and "abus[ing] power to steal his property".

Would you rather they just ask him "hey, is any of this dangerous?" and leave when he says "no"? There are reasons why we regulate stuff like chemicals (you have to have a permit just to own / use some professional beauty products), and if he wasn't following whatever the local regulations were, then it's his fault.

Now, if it turns out he was indeed following all local / state laws, then the authorities certainly owe him an apology at least.

Re:What's the big deal? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24571997)

There was no warrant. End of the goddamn argument. They are in the wrong.

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572023)

The key difference here is that in the cat example they can point
to an obvious and clear reason that could be put on a WARRANT or
used as PROBABLE CAUSE.

No such thing exists here.

Were there even any complaining neighbors?

Even something as trivial as "a strange odor" reported by one
of the neighbors to local police would have been enough to
start the ball rolling correctly here.

Put your ducks in a row.

It's like FISA. Everyone in government is getting used to the
idea that they don't have to obey their own rules anymore.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24572027)

I think you missed that part about them not having a warrant.

Re:What's the big deal? (5, Insightful)

DanWS6 (1248650) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572079)

i[Now, if it turns out he was indeed following all local / state laws, then the authorities certainly owe him an apology at least.]i

Yeah, I bet they will slap their wrists and say they are very very sorry and it'll never happen again too.

I have a computer. One of those new fancy technology machines that store "files" on it. The local cops should come take it because I may or may not have "illegal" files on it. Once they analyze it they should possibly give it back depending on how they feel. Or they could just keep it. Oh they should also do this without obtaining one of those pesky warrant things. That will help save them time. It won't bother me at all because it's not an invasion of my privacy if it keeps the world safe from evil.

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

keytoe (91531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572107)

That's all well and good - and I have no problem with that. It's the lack of any due process (eg, getting a warrant) that is troubling in this case.

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572183)

If we went by rule of law, every SINGLE house in America would violate at LEAST one local, county, state or federal regulation, code, law, etc.

Per your post, how many cats is enough to make it enough too much? I know you would create an unsanitary condition, just when is the judgment call made to do so?

I'm not even going to get into warrant less entry and search.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24572265)

Before they can take the cats they still require a warrant and a orders from a judge typically. The authorities can not just bust in and take your stuff. Undoubtedly, if he had not allowed the search, they would've gotten the warrant without a problem and taken the stuff anyway.

I miss freedom (4, Insightful)

Attackinghobo (1212112) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571931)

Don't you?

Re:I miss freedom (5, Funny)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572039)

I miss freedom, Don't you?

That's why we now have freedom fries. So don't worry, you'll still be able to get your USDA recommended amount of freedom.

just another thing going wrong ... (4, Interesting)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571933)

This is just another representation of the government attempting to control the lives of citizens under the guise of protecting the masses.

Although he could be using his home chemistry lab to do illegal things, the government should not be allowed to enter and seize on the ability to do wrong, only on the reasonable suspicion.

If the ability to cause problems was a legitimate reason to stop someone from practicing their hobby, then what about gun enthusiasts? What about drunks? And what about people with cars?

I don't care if you have a home chemistry set, just don't blow up my house.

Once you infringe on my rights, you're in the wrong - and that applies equally to the government!

He didn't conform! (4, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571935)

This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.

So his ''crime'' was to do something slightly different from the rest of the population.

Then I got to thinking: What is normal, what does Mr average do in his spare time ? Does this mean that anyone who does anything except: watch TV, visit shopping malls or go to the pub is weird and so under suspicion ?

I think that I'll put my walking boots on and think about it on a long stroll .... drat - that'll put me under the microscope :-)

Re:He didn't conform! (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572177)

His crime was being different by working with (not so small amounts) of known carciogenic substances in a residental area.
If you are using like that in a chemlab, everything has tight regulations and the equipment is regularily checked.
Not so if you are messing around in your basement.

And the fact that he is a chemist doesnt reduce the problems in the slightest. I have known chmists that really stopped caring about safety.

Re:He didn't conform! (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572225)

Yes. This is the reason every thinking person needs to be opposed to things like FISA, the War On Drugs, etc.

protest by buying his book (3, Interesting)

PenguinX (18932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571937)

There are always people with authority and the stupidity to use it. So he's been shut down, yes it's terrible - and illegal - and unconstitutional. Perhaps the best way to show your outrage: buy his book: at $29 bucks, why not? That way, just in case justice is not done, he will be able to be well financed to return to his work.

The EAA had the same fight. (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571947)

The EAA had the same fight about home builders.
For those that don't know the EAA represnts people that build their own airplanes or restore old ones. At least one town made it illegal. The EAA usually fights such things and often wins.
Too bad there isn't an EAA for Chemistry.
BTW I am a member of the EAA :)

Massachusetts... (3, Insightful)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571967)

Probably thought he was developing a new kind of hoax device [wikipedia.org] .

Welcome to the club. (3, Interesting)

bryanp (160522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571977)

There have been similar problems for those who handload ammunition. "Oh my god, this man had 12 pounds of gunpowder in his garage! And look at all this ammunition! It's an arsenal of destruction!"

And no, that's not hyperbole. It's happened. Generally only in places like California or Massachusetts, with their high proportion of Gun Fearing Weenies(tm), but not exclusively.

Re:Welcome to the club. (2, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572115)

Strange matters of viewpoint.
When you said "thats not hyperbole", i though:"Omg. There are really nutcases around that are allowed to store gunpower poundwise in their garage?!".

Warrants? We don't need no steenking warrants! (0)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#24571983)

It seems that authorities in Massachusetts have raided a home chemistry lab, apparently without a warrant

I know how he feels (NSFW) [slashdot.org]

Proper Property (2, Insightful)

delire (809063) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572003)

This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.

Since when has there existed a reference standard for how people should live in their own homes? Who's home is it, his or the State's?

How many posts would it take for someone to use the word 'totalitarian', I wonder, were this story to have originated from a Communist country?

Sue, sue, sue! (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572009)

Sue the ignorant bitch (Pamela Wilderman) her employers, the state, any judge issuing a warrant without cause etc.

This seems like a golden opportunity for some group of unemployed/underemployed shysters to raise some hell!

Dang! (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572011)

I can't imagine how they would have reacted if they found the basement lab I had when I was a teenager. I did some of the synthesizing explosives and making my own fireworks, along with some other experiments I am sure the local police would now find very alarming.

Crikey, it is now definitely a "everything not compulsory is forbidden" country.

Bet you the code dude (1)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572041)

looks like that little piss ant from Ghost Busters that through the switch.

The Creature lives Igor (1)

gilbertopb (1286258) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572047)

Dr Frankenstein, why are that village people in front of our door again?

There's worse things than terrorists (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572063)

Looks like it's just about time to start spelling it "Amerika". Nice experiment...too bad it failed when too many people decided they'd rather live on their knees than die on their feet.

Wow. (1)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572069)

I'm impressed. People stepped up when someone was carting chemistry equipment into their home. Hopefully an understanding will be reached, and he'll be allowed to continue his research.

Home experimentalist types should live in a more rural area though. Especially if you're bringing in barrels of chemicals, blowing shit up or operating high power RF equipment.

Re:Wow. (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572239)

If you're operating high-powered RF equipment, you're legally required to do it a certain distance from other people. There are a ton of rules about this.

For that matter, there are probably also laws against stockpiling hazardous chemicals in residential areas.

Contact Info for that part of the city government. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24572073)

The following link is to the "inspections" division of the city where the zealot works. Phone numbers and emails are listed. Just an FYI http://www.marlborough-ma.gov/Gen/MarlboroughMA_Inspection/index [marlborough-ma.gov]

E X P E R I M E N T S ? ! ? ! ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24572087)

How dare he ! burn the witch !!

Patiently awaiting the follow up story... (2, Funny)

Manfre (631065) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572101)

At least he will be able to get a better home lab after he brings this to court.

BS editorializing (4, Informative)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572123)

The summary text

"Allow me to translate Ms. Wilderman's words into plain English: 'Mr. Deeb hasn't actually violated any law or regulation that I can find, but I don't like what he's doing because I'm ignorant and irrationally afraid of chemicals, so I'll abuse my power to steal his property and shut him down."

appears nowhere in the linked article, yet kdawson has chosen to sensationalize by adding his own words and making it look as if they were part of the article.

In fact the article actually states:

"Mr. Deebâ(TM)s home lab likely violated the regulations of many state and local departments, although officials have not yet announced any penalties. "

poor excerpt-laws were broken (4, Informative)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572133)

From the article: "Mr. Deeb was doing scientific research and development in a residential area, which is a violation of zoning laws."

After reading the article, I'm pretty unimpressed with the selective quoting in the blurb. Not only were laws broken, but from the description of the house, it sounds like there was at least a little reason to want to investigate, if perhaps not launch a cleanup. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill.

double-check your translation (2, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572137)

Allow me to translate Ms. Wilderman's words into plain English: 'Mr. Deeb hasn't actually violated any law or regulation that I can find, but I don't like what he's doing because I'm ignorant and irrationally afraid of chemicals, so I'll abuse my power to steal his property and shut him down.'"

According to TFA, "Mr. Deeb's home lab likely violated the regulations of many state and local departments, although officials have not yet announced any penalties."

Also according to TFA, Mr. Deeb invited the fire department into his home, to deal with an an unrelated fire.

So, it seems that a violation was committed (though the question of the reasonability of the regulations in question remains open), and that this wasn't some sort of "no knock" raid.

Also, the fact that the chemicals in question were no more dangerous than typical household chemicals is not relevant - a lot of household chemical are very dangerous and are only permitted because they are typically kept in small quantities. It's one thing to have a can of bug spray, another to store a ton of pesticides.

Should move to Rural Missouri (1)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572143)

They seem to support home chemistry in them thar parts.

Oh wait, he's not making meth.
Nevermind!!!

$10 for his legal defense (1)

pseudorand (603231) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572151)

I've got $10 for his legal defense. I didn't RTFA in detail, but does anyone know if one has been started and, if so, where to send my $10.

And I'm serious here, so no jokes about "Just send your bank account number to this e-mail address is Zimbabwe and we'll take care of the rest".

American people (average) is the most ignorant (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24572191)

Creationism in schools.
Religion mixed with politics.
And news like this, a dangerous scientific home-student (like Galileo and others ...) ...
In Europe, the image of eeuu-people is the image of an ignorant mass.
EEUU is in obviously decadence.

Hobbyists Less Trusted than Corporations? (4, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572195)

This is not what we would consider to be a customary home occupation.

I find it troubling that hobbyists are less trusted than corporations (assuming that these same experiments, performed by a corporation, would pose no problem - which I think the above quote pretty clearly implies). First, it is a really stupid idea from the American economy standpoint - we've made a lot of hay in this country's history on garage hackers (think: personal computer, for example). Second, what exactly makes corporations (which are made up of individuals) more trustworthy than non-corporate individuals? Timothy McVeigh? USAMRIID Anthrax. This is utterly stupid, and clearly the result of a panic'd mind more concerned with a pretense of safety than with the success of this great nation.

City comment link (1)

PottedMeat (1158195) | more than 6 years ago | (#24572233)

Shouldn't they know for sure that something is amiss before they make raids like this?

I think they are way over the line and will be making a comment here: http://www.marlborough-ma.gov/Gen/comments [marlborough-ma.gov]

Yeah it's comments for the website but hey it's somewhere.

PM

Fall of the Galactic Empire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24572257)

I dont know if anyone else feels the parallels to Asimovs description of events of fall of the galactic empire and rise of the foundations.

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