Monday, January 22, 2007

Does This Water Taste Like Crestor?

Americans are throwing away so many medication that traces of common prescription drugs have been found in 80 percent of the nation's streams.

This is different than the beef problem. Steers and cows are given antibiotics and hormones, we eat and drink, and the drugs end up in the effluent water. Since we're loaded with systems to digest and detoxify everything we eat, and what's left over goes through a tertiary treatment plant and chlorination, it's hard to believe many drugs get into the water this way.

The way prescriptions end up in streams and rivers is by flushing them down the toilet.

AARP recommends that instead of dumping meds into the bowl, render them unusable and put them in the trash.

But why are Americans discarding so much medicine, and particularly, prescription drugs?

People who still pay taxes are giving pharmaceutical and insurance companies money to give them the opportunity to join incomprehensible prescription drug plans. And then they dump the drugs in the toilet?

By this time all of us should know that unless the doctor says otherwise, we are supposed to finish all prescriptions. No one should have a stockpile of outdated capsules and pills.

Perhaps we stock up on aspirin, ibuprofen and cold medicines and then discover that some of the drugs expired before they were used. That's wasteful, but OTC drugs are comparatively cheap.
Not so the prescriptions. Some cost hundreds of dollars.

Not to sound paranoid, but if consumers aren't throwing away perfectly good drugs, who would be? The only beneficiaries of reducing supplies of drugs would be the manufacturers.

But that's goofy. Isn't it?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Confused By Cold

Since it seems as if winter temperatures will finally arrive, a word about wind chill.

Wind chill was developed to describe how wind velocity changes the way temperature feels to exposed skin.

We hear about wind chill so often that many people have become confused. Only warm blooded animals with bare skin, humans basically, are affected. If the temperature is 35 but the wind chill is 16, a container of water placed outside will not freeze.

Wind might make the water freeze more rapidly at an ambient temperature of 32 degrees by carrying away heat.

So fear not. Your car will die equally well at 16 degrees or minus 10 with the wind chill.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

How Many Lunar Hectares in a Square Kilometer?

NASA, for reasons known only to NASA, had decided to use the metric system for its future lunar explorations and settlements.
The rest of the world uses the metric system, but not the United States. We've just never seen the point.
Instead, we use miles, feet, yards, inches, pounds and a bunch of other arbitrary units.
The meter, on the other hand, was invented by the French in 18th century.
Christian Huygens suggested that a meter be defined as the length of a pendulum with a period of one second, but that didn't happen.
It was instead defined as one ten-millionth of the distance from the North Pole to the equator along a line running between Dunkirk in France and Barcelona in Spain.
So the meter was a removed reflection of Earth, as were the units for volume, and weight. The original meter was a platinum bar kept in Paris. (The bar was 0.2 millimeters short, but what the heck.)
Scientists have since redefined the meter as 1/299,792,458 the distance traveled by light in a vacuum in one second.
Either way, using meters on the moon makes no more sense than miles, yards, and feet. Isn't NASA the agency that confused metric and British units on the $125 million Mars Orbiter, causing it to crash?
Maybe NASA should just use what we're used to.