Friday, May 29, 2015

Stuff around the net

In Our Time podcast this week is about glass.

While glass items have been made for at least 5,000 years, scientists are yet to explain, conclusively, what happens when the substance it's made from moves from a molten state to its hard, transparent phase.
you can also stream past podcasts on history, science, and philosophy...


Author Brian Sibley has a new book out on the author of Thomas the Tank Engine.

he also has books on the Hobbit and Pooh and Narnia...

But he is also known to geeks for rewriting books for BBC adaptation (his latest award is for Titus Groan).

And now, he has posted some of these on SoundCloud.


No link, but there is an article about an ancient medieval recipe would kill super-staph germs.The mixture was gall (a detergent) garlic (an anti oxidant) and copper (a heavy metal poison). Well, duh.
That would work if you smeared it on the wound, because the gall would disrupt the cell membrane and the copper would stop the germ (and the skin underneath) from dividing.

The problem with such articles is that it ignores the real problem: that the germs kill people by spreading infection inside the body, and drinking a concoction of garlic and gall is no better at killing germs than eating a pizza and having your own gall bladder supply the gall.
As for the copper, well, it can kill you before it kills the germ.

Related item: Medieval pest control


That last article includes this factoid:
  • Certain coins - all pennies in the U.S. made before 1982 contained copper
 I was aware that they stopped making silver coins years ago but wasn't aware they stopped using copper in pennies.


Question: Is My Penny a Copper, or a Zinc Cent?
Answer:If your Lincoln Memorial penny has a date before 1982, it is made of 95% copper. If the date is 1983 or later, it is made of 97.5% zinc and plated with a thin copper coating.
For pennies minted in 1982, when both copper and zinc cents were made, the safest and best way to tell their composition is to weigh them. Copper pennies weigh 3.11 grams, whereas the zinc pennies weigh only 2.5 grams.
or you can drop them. If they "ring" they are copper, if they "clunk" they are zinc.

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