You probably know that people did some remarkably silly things with radium in the early part of the 20th century—including putting it inside water jugs, in order to give drinking water that radiation-infused freshness the whole family loves.
Those jugs turned out to be a health hazard—but not just because of the radiation. The radium ore used in the jugs was, apparently, leaching arsenic and lead into the water, too, according to research done by a team led by Michael Epstein, an analytic chemist at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
For their study, Epstein and colleagues bought four Revigators from antique stores or on eBay. The jars still exude the same amount of radiation as they did in the early 1900s. Epstein's team used a highly sensitive instrument called a mass spectrometer to analyze the concentration of toxic elements in the radon-infused water ... if people added a slightly acidic beverage such as wine or fruit juice to the jar, the resulting fluid contained 300 times more than the maximum arsenic intake recommended by the EPA.
National Geographic News: Surprise! Radioactive Water Jugs Not as Healthy as Advertised
Image courtesy Flickr user A. M. Kuchling, via CC
Apple released this lovely new commercial featuring Carl Sagan reading from his magnificent 1994 book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, now available as an audiobook. This surprising partnership spurred Adweek to interview my friend Ann Druyan, Sagan’s wife, collaborator, and creative director of the Voyager Golden Record, about being […]
The Action Lab took a maglev gyroscope and placed it inside a sealed chamber to see what happens to a levitating gyroscope in a vacuum. A lot of people took issue with the experiment’s setup and explanation, but it’s interesting nonetheless. He responded to those concerns: Hi everyone! I see a lot of comments that […]
Shocking footage, taken from a nearby aircraft, shows a jetliner spraying its appalling chemical payload into our skies. Traffic 12 o'clock pic.twitter.com/g5QjlQ5v8z— Airplane Pictures ✈ (@iLove_Aviation) June 19, 2017
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]