beeTOTAL FUCKUPSbee

Table of Contents

I. Yeah?! So Strike's a total moron! What's your point?!

II. Corrections To "Total Synthesis"
A. Top 10 #2
B. Top 10 #5
C. Top 10 #8


Strike's a Moron!

Yes Strike is. A bumbling bumble bee if you will. And like everyone else, Strike makes mistakes. Take "Total Synthesis" for instance. Strike worked very hard to get it right. But Strike did it alone. No editors. No peers. No one to proof read. What can be said. There just weren't enough amphetamine chemists on Strike's block who had the time to do a professional critique when the book was finished. But thats ok because Strike is constantly correcting what Strike finds. And Strike now has a small army of cyber critics who are not shy in their criticism as well.

This is a good thing, though. Strike will not defend or cover up mistakes. Strike will remedy what Strike can here and, when all 50 copies of the first edition are sold, will correct the book permanently for the second edition. Strike appologizes for any inconveniences the omissions or mistakes may have caused you.


Corrections to "Total Synthesis"

A.) Top 10 #2
There isn't really anything wrong with the recipe. But there is a very important procedural element that was not included in the book that you may wish to know. On page 50, one can see that after the reaction is complete "the solution is merely dumped into 1L of dH2) and extracted 3X100mL Et2O or DCM or Benzene." Well, what actually happens here is that a monster emulsion forms. The nastiest one Strike has ever seen. It resists all standard methods for breaking it up. So one is stuck with a huge emulsion, no organic solvent layer, and a small water layer. The only successful way to get the P2P out of that junk is to extract the whole mess with excess solvent. Strike means A LOT of solvent. Hundreds and hundreds of mLs worth. This means that one needs to use as much solvent as necessary to get a prominent solvent layer to form. One is simply saturating the emulsion until it can no longer absorb any more solvent. And yes such a point will come. It is very important to extract that saturated aq. emulsion at least 3 times with solvent because one is trying to use solvent to wrestle that P2P oil out of an emulsion that itself is full of solvent. But it will work. Also, DCM will work but it tends to exascerbate the emulsion problem. So ether and or benzene are preferrable in this situation. Once separated, the P2P oil is right target for yield.

B. Top 10 #5
Strike is asking all book owners to suspend all contemplation of #5 for now. Why might you ask? Because Strike is insane and does these kinds of things for pleasure. Actually, it is because people have been having trouble 'understanding' this procedure and it is probably Strike's fault. Strike has had a lot of very competant chemists lay out their interpretations of how the reaction would theoretically go for them should they ever choose to get certified and enter an established research laboratory at some college or something. The skills and lab technique of these people are not in question because their descriptions are right on the money and credible.

There is nothing wrong with the way #5 has been 'hypothesized' by these people except that it just ain't workin for 'em!

There is not much Strike can say about this except that something is wrong with the method because there is not any telltale problems with the underground scientists (aside of the normal things). The theory and scope presented in the research article this method came is sound. And when Strike may or may not have tried this method the damn thing worked. But it just ain't doing so for others.

The problem seems to lie in the preparation of the mercuric nitrate or the first reaction involving involving it and the safrole. Strike can best tell you about how Strike views this reaction by telling you how Strike first worked on the damn thing. The first thing that bugged Strike about this method was that the scientists in the paper stated they used 64.8g (0.200mol) mercuric nitrate. Yes, 64.8g is exactly equall to 0.200mol. But the only mercuric nitrate being sold was mercuric nitrate-mono hydrate (that is one mercuric nitrate molecule with one water molecule attached). Strike looked everywhere (Strike means everywhere) for anhydrous mercuric nitrate but it was just not being sold in that form.

So Strike looks at the article again...then back to all the chem catalogues...then back again to the article. Strike is going nuts at this point! There was no reason to believe that those scientists back then would tout a 'simple' reaction using a form of mercuric nitrate that surely they could not readily buy. 64.8g. Hmmm? If those scientists were using mercuric nitrate-mono hydrate and wanted exactly 0.200mol of mercuric nitrate from it then they would need to weigh out 68.5g of the hydrate to accomodate for the added water weight. But they don't say they did this and state unequivocally that they weighed an amount of 64.8g of some mercuric nitrate compound.

Strike could not escape the idea that anhydrous mercuric nitrate was used. Now, Strike's ignorrance of organic chemistry is evident, but Strike is really really ignorrant of inorganic chemistry. So Strike goes to down to the local university and asks some guy running an inorganic lab how he would dehydrate a mercury salt (he lokked like a graduate student. Strike knows. Strike knows. Big mistake!). He says he would just fire the stuff in a drying oven. "Does that work?" Strike asks. "Of course! We do it all the time" says the dude. Fair enough. Actually Strike began to remember lots of salts Strike would do this to to rid them of water back in Strike's legitimate research days. So maybe 100g of mercuric nitrate-mono hydrate was baked in an oven for about 30 min at 110C. It got molten and was approximately 5g lighter. It lost exacly the amount of weight it should have if it were rid of water!

And maybe or maybe not Strike proceeded with the rest of the experiment with positive outcome. But...It appears that this is not how it is theoretically going with other people. As an ionic bonded molecule, Strike would not expect it to destroy itself at temperatures below a zillion degrees. But people have reported that mercuric nitrate actually decomposes at 79C according to Lange's Handbook. And another has stated that an empirical observation of baked mercuric nitrate produced a 50% loss of the compound weight. Whoaaa! That's a lot less than 5%. It sounds like decomposition may be taking place! Yikes!

It may be that proceeding with this 'baked' product had produced some mixed results for people (bees). Strike would consider the production of a yellow precipitate or color with safrole to be a good sign because it is a positive indication that a complex has formed because most mercury II salts make an optically active yellow complex with safrole. It would also indicate (at least to Strike) that a viable form of mercury II salt is present otherwise such a color would not occur. And, in fact, it has been consistent that most have gotten such a reaction. But some get no appreciable reaction to occur or, oppositely, get some uncontrolled reaction bursts.

This last observation leads Strike to some tentative ideas. Reaction bursts are often a result of too much heating or adding too much stuff at once. But sometimes having a 'coated' core of reactant in solution, who's protective coating dissolves away over time, will cause an uncontrolled burst. And how can one explain Strike's supposed limited success with the reaction. Could Strike or others have not completely decomposed the mercuric acetate during baking giving an undecomposed core of good stuff within each of the crushed-up 'anhydrous' particles of mercuric nitrate? Probably not. But who knows? Certainly not Strike.

Strike cannot fathom the inconsistancies of this reaction nor explain them. The easiest way to resolve this dilemma would be to just ignore what Strike wrote in the book and use the normal mercuric nitrate-mono hydrate as is and see if the reaction does in fact proceed smoothly. It may be overkill to presume anhydrous for this reaction. It is true that solvomercuration-demercuration reactions (which this one is) will favor the addition of water to the double bond over other things. And it may be assumed that the water of the mono hydrate will compete. But will it really? Fuck if Strike knows!

Until we can get this problem corrected Strike is discouraging people from using Top 10 #5 (Sob!). Strike has built this site for this very purpose. Strike and others will welcome furious debate and research on this topic. It may seem simple but if it can't work for every single person then Strike is gonna drop it. Period. But the plain truth is that once a actual sample of anhydrous ammonium nitrate is in hand. The method will work as described.

Strike's appologies to everyone this has effected.

C. Top 10 #7 & #8
Nothing wrong with #7 & #8 as written. Strike just thought it would benefit you to read the new insights that Strike has written in the Archives page regarding bromosafrole. There is a lot of new stuff there that will compliment and expand on these two recipes. Also, Strike is now favoring the use of methylamine instead of ammonia as the nucleophile in #8. This is because methylamine will more readily add to the bromo intermediate and vastly higher yield will result. Ammonia still works, though. Just not as well.


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this page revised by cystonic [
cystonic@mindspring.com]