Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why the EPA Wants to Kill Us, or God Made a Good World

Well, here we go. I have wanted to blog on some science stuff at some point, so we'll try this out and see if anyone is interested. I at least hope the eye-catching title gets you to read it.

Ever since I did my senior thesis work in asbestos I learned a lot about how the EPA and groups like OSHA work. Basically some good intentions gone horribly wrong. I would like to take this opportunity to throw a small water balloon over their high, impervious wall of governmental authority. Here's a few common misconceptions that will get you to enjoy the world God made hopefully just a little more:

1. Asbestos is not bad for you. Asbestos describes the way some rock crystals naturally grow. It's an amazing thing, but they grow into fuzzy balls that look like cotton. It is amazing stuff that cannot be burned and can be made into any shape imaginable. Unless you mine the stuff, it probably won't do a thing to you. You breathe nearly 4,000 asbestos fibers every day outside in the air. Since making asbestos insulation illegal there are more catastrophic fires and more people have died. You see, since it is the perfect insulator, asbestos can keep your house from burning down. The EPA itself doesn't even know what asbestos is, and it classifies certain small chunks of rocks as asbestos that are totally harmless.

2. Lead paint won't do anything to you. The EPA only measures total lead in something, and doesn't pay attention if the lead is by itself, lead sulfide, lead oxide, or some other combination. Your body can't digest lead by itself or lead sulfide (which is usually the type put into paint). You can eat it all day and it goes all the way through. Only lead oxide can be absorbed by your blood, so no gnawing on rusty pipes, but other than that there's no problem.

3. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every plant and animal breathes out carbon dioxide, and plants need it to survive. It's carbon monoxide that comes out of car exhaust and combines with oxygen in the lower atmosphere, creating smog (which is really just ozone).

4. Arsenic is good for you. There are certain elements that are poisons in large amounts, but your body needs them in trace amounts, and the only way you can get them is by drinking tap water. Water runs over rocks, and the minerals get dissolved into them. Other minerals in tap water like calcium, magnesium, sodium, or iron are entirely harmless (although they may effect taste).

5. Without global warming we would all die. Global warming really refers to the fact that our atmosphere keeps us relatively cozy. It holds in the heat from the sun and that's a great thing. If you want to end global warming, move to the planet Mercury and see how you like it there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sumo Wrestling Training Academy

Yes, we start young. The dog wanted to join in, but her belly isn't big enough.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Know Why the Fates Were Old Women

The Fates, from ancient Greek mythology, were three old women who sat at their looms. They sewed constantly, weaving the tapestry that was your life. When they cut the thread at the end to tie it were dead. They knew the future, and could tell if the choices you made would inevitably lead to your destruction. I think I know why they were old women.

I have realized, being a mother, that I am a fatalist, and if I don't change before I get old, I will be a Fate. This is because I know what's going to happen. When my son puts his milk too close to his elbow at the table, I know what's going to happen. When it's raining outside and everyone rushes in the door with their boots, I know what's going to happen. When kids start playing tag through the house, racing around corners, I know what's going to happen. It makes sense, and the consequences are obvious.

Usually I'm right, but a problem arises when I'm wrong. Sometimes the kid running down the hillside, arms flailing in the breeze, with both his shoes untied...doesn't fall down. Sometimes friends jumping off the top bunk, landing on the couch...doesn't get anybody hurt. While I am a fatalist, my husband is Providential--go ahead, let them try it, he insists, what's the worst that could happen? Getting injured is not necessarily the worst consequence in the world.

Job's wife was another fatalist, "Curse God and die!" She told her husband. God had hurt Job, so that made sense, it was definitely the reasonable thing to do. However, Job was not a fatalist, he was Providential. He refused to curse the God that brought the gifts in form of trials. In the end, he was blessed beyond all reason.

God most assuredly is not a fatalist. He foresaw all the trouble, destruction, and mess that we would make of the world--and He made it anyway. He relishes crooked lines, messes, and off-balanced toddlers running down the hill. He can draw straight, clean up, and even heal broken skin. Even Adam in Paradise may have tripped and skinned his knee, or knocked his milk over, and he blessed God when he did so.