This....is just amazing.

Back in the day, the Monsanto Corporation sponsored a ride at Disneyland, that ended with a loop song by the Sherman Brothers extolling the brave frontiers of corporate-sponsored chemistry. The ride itself was a hoot and one of my fondest childhood memories. The above video is a virtual recreation of what that ride was like, and I have to tell you, it's not only pretty accurate, it has details that I had forgotten or never personally experienced due to the way the ride evolved. For example, Monsanto eventually quit sponsoring it, and the Disney folk expunged direct reference to the company and its wares from the ride's conclusion.

This no doubt had something to do with message fatigue, but it also has to be noticed that there was a 'sea change' in public attitudes about the discipline of chemistry. In the 1950's, chemistry was seen as a beneficient fountain of modern miracles: WD-40! Nylon! ...and, especially, plastic, PLASTIC, PLASTIC from polymers derived from petroleum.

Then books like Silent Spring entered the public consciousness, and the emerging counter-culture (which Disney resisted for decades) carried with it a largely anti-scientific but emotionally powerful notion of "ecology" that carried with it a negative connotation to the word 'chemical'. Companies like Dow Chemical and Monsanto saw their public image greatly eroded by well-publicized (and, sometime, ill-founded) critiques of pollution and the unintended consequence of exposure to the dreaded 'chemicals.'

But, of course, everything is 'chemistry' in one sense or another. The field of chemistry is simply that branch of physics concerned with discovering and understanding all the different ways that matter and energy can be arranged. There is nothing inherently bad or good about such an enterprise, and it's more than a bit aggravating to see the pseudoscientific movements still with us that take, as a starting point, the position that "chemicals are bad." Only slightly less nauseating is the premise of "unnatural chemicals", as the deadliest chemicals I can think of are those that liberate free oxygen. I'd like to see somebody in the anti-vax movement or the "chemtrail" enthusiasts lambaste oxygen, or, as a kid once allegedly based a science project on, the deadly effects of dihydrogen monoxide (DMO).

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