Things That Are Awesome

In today’s edition of TTAA (Things That Are Awesome) – okay, the first edition of Things That Are Awesome – we are going to talk about ether.

Why ether? Why not?! We just finished up with an organic lab that dealt heavily in ether, and I would like to extol the virtues of this somewhat heady chemical for a moment.

Ether’s chemical name is actually diethyl ether,and if you draw it out it kind of looks like a bat:

Batman, organic chem style. I know, I need to get out more.

It happens to reek. If you’ve ever smelled ether before, you’d recognize it when you smelled it again. Ether happens to have a fairly phenomenal property: in large quantities, it will render you unconscious! In low doses, it will make you laugh at unfunny things, like cats and failures to obtain sufficient yield. Ether is a fabulous anesthetic, though it’s generally no longer used because it has nasty side effects like post-anesthesia vomiting and dizziness.

But I digress. Ether is awesome because it is pretty volatile, meaning it will evaporate easily into the air. This happens even at room temperature, which means if you’re spending three hours pipetting it in and out of tubes, you’re gonna totally get high.
Which is exactly what happened to me. It’s a good thing that lab ended when it did, because I was giggling about things like concentrated melt-your-face-off acid. Ether makes a marginally responsible human being like me into a hugely irresponsible one.

I’m supposed to be writing up my lab report right now, but my thoughts keep drifting to the fact that the guy sitting across from me at the coffee shop looks like the guy from Mythbusters. And I can’t stop laughing.


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