[ExI] Ants to spike

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Tue Oct 20 16:10:40 UTC 2009

spike wrote:
> Anders, precipitating lead from paint chips can probably be done with
> ordinary household chemicals, but not with vinegar.

So you think there was too little acetate ions to make lead acetate?

>  When you say precipitate it with salt, if you meant sodium
> chloride, you can consult the periodic table and recognize that you would
> form little or no lead chloride.

My thinking was that while lead acetate is water soluble, lead chloride is
not, so it ought to precipitate.

> So I can see at least two things in this
> approach that might explain your result.

Not to mention the absence of lead in the paint. After having filled the
house with the smell of Science I discovered the old paintcans in the
cellar. (The origin of the whole affair was that Nick Bostrom got worried
about paint flakes that had washed off the house we share, and I argued
that it was unlikely they were lead-containing. Rather than just trying to
settle this by logic like true philosophers I started boiling vinegar)

> Otherwise my guess is try to form a nitrate or a sulfide rather than a
> chloride, then try to extract the lead nitrate or lead sulfide using a
> centrifuge.

Hmm, sulphides are always fun... I had great fun with aluminium sulphide,
which reacts with water to make hydrogen sulphide.

> Of course if you try to get either sulfuric or nitric acid, you may
> attract
> the attention of the authorities.

"You fools! Can you not see that I am checking the safety of this house?!
I *need* concentrated acids and heavy metals to keep us all safe and

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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