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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

the mystery of exploding toads

the bbc has a story about toads in germany having really bad days.

Mystery of German exploding toads [bbc, april 26, 2005]

Thousands of the amphibians have died in recent days in a pond in Hamburg’s Altona district, with their bodies swelling to bursting point.

The toads’ entrails are propelled for up to a metre (3.2ft), in scenes that have been likened to science fiction.

ouch.

posted by roj at 3:04 am  

Friday, September 3, 2004

pollution from asia – it’s a small world

i’m feeling slightly scientific today, so i thought i’d drop a few of the things that crossed my brain….

it seems some guy at harvard recently found asian pollution over new england.

Asian grit aloft in New England [boston globe, august 9, 2004]

“We have to be concerned whether the cost of continuing to ratchet up emission controls is not going to be offset by growing pollution coming to us from Asia,” said Daniel J. Jacob, a Harvard University researcher who is serving as deputy mission scientist for the intensive, six-week study. “At some point, it may be cheaper to sell pollution control equipment to China.”

i guess this means we really are all living on the same planet.

not that this is an investment tip or anything, but… hmmm. pollution controls.

posted by roj at 3:30 pm  

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

pterostilbene from violet beauregarde

from the chemistry department, we’ve found pterostilbene in blueberries. known to occur in grapes for a while now, this stuff is in a sublcass of antioxidants called phytoalexins and apparently lowers cholesterol.

so add blueberries to your chocolate-and-red-wine diet.

better living through chemistry, indeed. get your polyphenyls, flavanols and phytoalexins. just be careful with the wonka brand gum.

posted by roj at 3:48 pm  

Friday, August 20, 2004

3,4,4′-trichlorocarbanilide in the water?

to follow up on the bad air, i thought a story about bad water was in order….

3,4,4′-trichlorocarbanilide, also known as triclocarban or tcc is one of those antibacterial things they put in soap. the tricky part is that the local scientist folks around here found this stuff in every stream they tested. they think it probably bioaccumulates, but nobody really knows, and these people had to cook up a whole new test just to find it.

Its somewhat unsettling that weve been using this persistent disinfectant for almost half a century at rates approaching 1 million pounds per year and still have essentially no idea of what exactly happens to the compound after we flush it down the drain. Further studies are needed to determine the effect of triclocarban on aquatic life and potential pathways of unwanted human exposure, said Dr. Halden.

tip of the day: don’t eat the soap.

posted by roj at 4:50 am  

Friday, August 20, 2004

blame the russians for the bad air

Siberian fires fuel Seattle ozone [upi via washington times, august 17, 2004]

Smoke from giant Siberian forest fires pushed one measure of Seattle’s air quality past federal limits in the summer of 2003

well, blame the russian forrest fires anyway. i guess this is a pretty big hint that we are all on the same planet.

posted by roj at 4:44 am  

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