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Hazardous Chemicals in the Hands of the Chemically Hazardous

So a well-meaning friend shared a post from one of those "kemikuls r bad / big-pharma keeps us sick for profit / magical diluted fairy water cures cancer" type pages, which in turn was a link from a similarly themed website. The link was to an article titled "3-Ingredient Natural Grout and Tile Cleaner – keeps tiles spotless & grime-free without chemicals" and was presented on the page along with this caption:

An Atheist "Happy New Year"

Happy very monumentally important arbitrarily chosen date marking the anniversary of the Bris Mila of the Made Up Son of the Great Imaginary Friend, even though the Big Book of Made Up Stuff kind of hints at, and history records, that the census Joe was bringing himself and his Mysteriously Knocked-Up wife Mary...

A Short Lesson in Chemical Compounds


A short lesson in why freaking out about a "chemical" because it is "derived from" something nasty (or nasty-sounding) or is "similar to" some other chemical, or contains an element or component that would be nasty in some other compound is completely meaningless.

Fukushima Bananapocalypse

Imagine if an average-sized freighter, like any of the ones routinely waiting in English Bay, loaded with about 700 40' shipping containers of bananas were to sink off the coast of Japan. Would you be worried? Based on the amount of radioactive potassium in the average banana, our hypothetical banana boat is the radioactive equivalent to all the radioactive water leaked so far.


E=mc² and Star Trek

Ever noticed that when people walk into their quarters on the Enterprise (ST:NG) they first thing they usually say is "Computer: lights". Why are they off in the first place? Does it matter at all if they just leave them on all the time (except to sleep, of course)? They are constantly converting matter to energy and back (replicators, transporters, etc.) On the Enterprise-D there are 400-odd people eating three replicated meals a day, not to mention all the other energy consumption... and yet they turn the lights out when they leave the room.

Earth Apple

If the world were reduced to the size of an apple, the crust of the earth—the solid ground and seemingly immutable mountains that we take for granted—would be thinner than the apple's skin. Below that, a seething sphere of liquid rock diabolically roiling at a searing 1,000 °C (give or take 300 °C.) In reality our "solid ground" is the pudding skin on fiery death. When it skids a tiny bit or slight wisps of nearly nothing breathe through, these are the disasters that level cities and the magically minded point to as the power of omnipotent gods.

"Face Hallucination"

For those that scoff at television crime dramas when they create high-res images from grainy surveillance video:

Some Thoughts on the Unlikelihood of Conspiratorial Alien Visitors

The Basics

Let me start by glossing over some of the classic arguments against extraterrestrial visitors:


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