War on Meth's chilling effect on science

Wired's Steve Silberman suggests that the difficulty in controlling methamphetamine production has led to an absurd level of criminalization of chemicals and chemistry equipment, having a chilling effect on budding young chemists.
“To criminalize the necessary materials of discovery is one of the worst things you can do in a free society,” says Shawn Carlson, a 1999 MacArthur fellow and founder of the Society for Amateur Scientists. “The Mr. Coffee machine that every Texas legislator has near his desk has three violations of the law built into it: a filter funnel, a Pyrex beaker, and a heating element. The laws against meth should be the deterrent to making it – not criminalizing activities that train young people to appreciate science.”|Wired|

This strikes me as another example of the disneyification of our society where our obsession with making everything G-rated for the little kitties drains our society of anything even remotely interesting or useful.

On a related topic, I recently quoted Danah Boyd, who suggests why this generation of kids are so attracted to online spaces:

As the real world is perceived as more dangerous with child abductors lurking on every corner, kids flock online to hang out with friends, express their hopes and dreams and bare their souls with often painful honesty -- mostly unbeknownst to their tech-clumsy parents. "We have a complete culture of fear," said Danah Boyd, 28, a Ph.D student and social media researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. "Kids really have no place where they are not under constant surveillance."

Driven to and from school, chaperoned at parties and often lacking public transport, today's middle-class American kids are no longer free to hang out unsupervised at the park, the bowling alley or to bike around the neighborhood they way they did 20 years ago. "A lot of that coming-of-age stuff in public is gone. So kids are creating social spaces within all this controlled space," said Boyd. |Wired| (emphasis mine)

No comments:

Post a Comment

eXTReMe Tracker