How can I shoot meth
Book review of "Can my chemistry teacher make crystal meth?"
28 days, 7 hours and 50 minutes: it takes almost a month to watch all 35 seasons of the series "Doktor Who", which has been running since 1963, in one go. Not only they, but also other TV series have captivated viewers for decades and sometimes stage exotic worlds. But what is fact about it, and what is the scriptwriter's imagination? Andrea Gentile gives exciting and sometimes surprising answers to this in his new book.
The science and culture journalist analyzes selected cult series in ten chapters. From Schmonzette to science fiction to fantasy and mystery everything is there. This ensures varied reading. Gentile pursues many exciting questions: How likely is it, á la Dr. Who to travel through time or encounter vampires or zombies? Why does Dr. House such strange diagnoses? Are there parallel universes and how realistic is telepathy?
From stuffy teacher to drug lord
Can my chemistry teacher actually make crystal meth, like Walter White in "Breaking Bad"? Probably yes! But even a small mistake in preparation could "possibly cost your life", as the book says - unfortunately without further explanation. Walter White and his friend Jesse Pinkman use the so-called P2P method to manufacture the drug. The isomers S- and R-methamphetamine, which are mirror images of each other, are created, which stimulate to different degrees and have different pharmacological effects. A remark by White suggests that he is aware of this problem. By the way: the mercury that the chemistry teacher uses to blow up the office of drug lord Tuco Salamanca is indeed very dangerous. For an explosion like the one shown in the film, however, around 250 grams would be required - and detonating it would not only be fatal for panes of glass and room furnishings, but also for people present.
What the series portray as everyday life is actually often still in the laboratories. The author offers his readers an insight into current research and explains fantastic phenomena from astronomy, medicine, biology, chemistry or physics. In doing so, he uses his talent to present complex scientific thought structures in a way that is understandable for everyone. Some serial phenomena remain wishful thinking until further notice, as Gentile shows. For example, the time travel of Dr. Who. After all, such trips are possible to a certain extent, because if you accelerate to a very high speed, the time passes measurably slower than for those who are resting. In order to achieve practical effects, however, enormous speeds are necessary. Astronauts from the International Space Station, for example, who move through space at 7700 meters per second for six months, have aged just 0.007 seconds less than their fellow citizens on earth when they return to Earth. In theory, wormholes allow much larger leaps in time, but according to Gentile they tend to "disappear again very quickly". Unfortunately, he doesn't specify that.
From the sewing box of the TV world
The author loosens up the reading with funny background information on each series. Did you know, for example, that Michael Jackson was talking about the role of "Doctor Who" and that the newly discovered species of bees? Euglossa bazinga was named after a typical exclamation from Sheldon Cooper ("The Big Bang Theory")?
Here and there the scriptwriters were inspired by the animal world. Human zombies like in "The Walking Dead" are pure fantasy, but there is a parasite that changes the brain of a mouse in such a way that it loses its fear of cats. If the mouse is eaten as a result, the parasite can multiply in the cat's stomach. There are also microorganisms that temporarily change human behavior - but they do not turn us into man-eating "biters".
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