[Alt-photo] Re: Alt-pro chems through Airport Checked bags

G Schmitz coldbay1 at gmail.com
Thu Nov 14 19:48:07 UTC 2013

FWIW last year I transported some sourdough starter in my checked 
baggage when I flew from Alaska to Wisconsin.  To make the transport mix 
I mix a tablespoon of sourdough starter with a cup of flour.  When I get 
to my destination I mix in some water and in less than 24 hours have a 
robust start going again.  When I did this last year my starter was DOA 
- this had never happened before.  I'm speculating that HSA/TSA used 
some sort of radiation but it's nothing more than speculation on my 
part.  I assume that it would take a pretty healthy dose of energy to 
modify the composition of a chemical, but then again it would take a 
significant burst of energy to kill the yeast and bacteria mixed into a 
cup of flour too.

Food for thought ;)


On 11/14/13 12:30 AM, J. Jason Lazarus wrote:
> All -
> I'm having a heck of a time getting decent VDB solution to mix from the chemicals that I recently brought back in checked bag from Bostick and Sullivan in Santa Fe and, because I'm searching for any explanation...
> ... could the x-rays that a checked bag goes through alter or expose either Silver Nitrate, Tartaric Acid or Ferric Ammonium Citrate?
> Perhaps a long shot, I don't know. I had asked staff at B&S prior to leaving if they had any reservations with me taking it back in that manner, and seeing none, I didn't give it a second thought... but after several unsuccessful attempts, I'm trying to figure out what it may be.
>   I'm having a devil of a time mixing my own solution without having significant precipitate form and settle to the bottom of the brown bottle.  I've mixed three times, using the measurements out of Christina Z. Anderson's book, and have become even more scrutinizing each time.  This last time, I added all the mixtures exactly (with a very pricey contraption for reloading bullets), mixed with very hot water and even going so far to add the silver nitrate drop by drop via an eyedropper to insure I didn't add it too fast.
> Within a day, I always end up with a eighth to a quarter inch of silvery sludge at the bottom of the bottle.  Prints, if created with freshly concocted solution, seem normal - but within a week, the exposure dramatically alters and the print quality falls off a cliff and looks poor and overwhelmingly grainy.  I've tried shaking the solution up, letting it rest and taking only the top of the solution (which is unnaturally clear compared to B&S's premix solution) and my prints are of a very poor quality and grainy - very much unlike anything I've experienced with B&S's premix.
> Any clues?  Anything I'm missing?
> Thanks.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  I apologize in advance if there's something utterly sophomoric I'm missing.
> J. Jason Lazarus
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