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Lead-Free Solder - friend or foe?

Lead-Free Solder - friend or foe? In 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a report (pdf), in which it assessed the environmental impact of tin-lead vs lead-free solder. In July 2006, RoHS legislation banned the use of lead in electronic products destined for sale throughout Europe with a few exceptions.
But not everyone thinks this was a good idea:
While lead may pose a greater public health problem than SAC solder (Tin–silver–copper), the latter uses noticeably more energy to produce than lead–tin solder. Tin Whiskers have also been identified as the cause of many military, health, industrial and satellite failures.
posted by Lanark on May 8, 2014 - 45 comments

Katni$$ FTW

Do movies that pass the Bechdel Test make more money than movies that don't? Walt Hickey, writing for Nate Silver's new fivethirtyeight site, examines the data.
posted by Diablevert on Apr 2, 2014 - 162 comments

Archaeology vs. Physics

Conflicting roles for old lead
The use of old lead for shielding increases the sensitivity of our most delicate experiments by orders of magnitude, an increase that is crucial when looking for a reaction that sheds light on new physics. Lead recovered from roofs, old plumbing, and even stained glass windows has been used, but Roman lead from a shipwreck is the best you can find.

posted by Jpfed on Dec 23, 2013 - 25 comments

"swallow capsules, after effect, protect metals, wait for mask signal"

The Lead Masks Case is the name given to a bizarre incident in August of 1966 in which two Brazilian television repairmen were found dead of unknown causes, wearing radiation-proof lead eye masks and raincoats, on a hilltop just outside the city of of Niterói in Rio de Janeiro. Along with a bizarre note left by one of the men which reads (in English), "16:30 (04:30 PM) be at the agreed place. 18:30 (06:30 PM) swallow capsules, after effect, protect metals, wait for mask signal," the unusual circumstances have prompted decades of speculation. [more inside]
posted by kewb on Dec 13, 2013 - 40 comments

Coffins Within Coffins

Hey, remember when archaeologists discovered the remains of Richard III under a car park in Leicester? Well, apparently they also unearthed a stone coffin dated to at least a century before Richard. When it was opened, it was revealed to contain... another coffin, sealed and made of lead. None of us in the team have ever seen a lead coffin within a stone coffin before, says one of the archaeologists. Oh sure, it's probably just the remains of one of the founders of the monastery that used to be there, but if the movies have taught us anything, it's that if something is mysterious, it must also be evil, right?
posted by Cash4Lead on Jul 30, 2013 - 46 comments

Lead Exposure Shown to Trigger Schizophrenia

The relationship between lead and crime has been well-documented. Now, researches show that there may be a link between lead exposure and schizophrenia.
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Jun 11, 2013 - 14 comments

What's the shape of a falling raindrop?

"When you run molten lead through a sieve and let it fall into a water tank far below, surface tension forms the lead drops into almost perfect spheres." The first purpose-built shot tower was built by William Watts of Bristol, UK, in 1782. America built its first shot tower in Philadelphia in 1808. The tallest shot tower ever built (but not the first in Australia) still stands in the center of Melbourne though now underneath a glass roof. As less costly methods of making shot were discovered these towers closed up shop, some not until the late sixties. Many of these towers have found new purposes as historical sites, art galleries or simply mysterious links to the past. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Jan 23, 2013 - 42 comments

Get the lead out.

Experts often suggest that crime resembles an epidemic. But what kind? Karl Smith, a professor of public economics and government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has a good rule of thumb for categorizing epidemics: If it spreads along lines of communication, he says, the cause is information. Think Bieber Fever. If it travels along major transportation routes, the cause is microbial. Think influenza. If it spreads out like a fan, the cause is an insect. Think malaria. But if it's everywhere, all at once—as both the rise of crime in the '60s and '70s and the fall of crime in the '90s seemed to be—the cause is a molecule.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 3, 2013 - 140 comments

You down with DDT?

Ten vintage advertisements that definitely wouldn't fly today.
posted by gman on Aug 23, 2012 - 103 comments

How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public's Expense

How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public's Expense: Report looks at methods of corporate abuse, suggests steps toward reform [Full Report (PDF)] [Executive Summary (PDF)] [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Mar 11, 2012 - 27 comments

Chinese heavy metals

About one tenth of China's farmland is polluted with heavy metals, with whole villages being poisoned. All too frequently, local governments have reacted by ignoring the problems and even denying treatment (HRW report).
posted by jeffburdges on Nov 9, 2011 - 37 comments

So is the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man correlated to a crimefighter?

Can marshmallows be the link that helps explain falling crime rates and increased environmental cleanliness? It seems that falling environmental lead levels may lead kids to have have more activity in their brains' frontal cortices. After following the kids from the marshmallow experiment for over 40 years, Walter Mischel found that those that could resist immediately eating the marshmallow were more likely to have increased activity in that area of their brains. These kids were also more likely to later exhibit such things as increased SAT scores and fewer anger management issues. [more inside]
posted by BevosAngryGhost on Jun 2, 2011 - 63 comments

But do they have any bottlecaps?

"Places like Picher are why Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980—better known as the Superfund bill." - Wired Magazine on the most toxic town in America, Picher, OK , and the people who still live there
posted by The Whelk on Sep 5, 2010 - 21 comments

Whales heavy with metal

"I don't see any future for whale species except extinction." A report (pdf) released Thursday by Ocean Alliance noted high levels of cadmium, aluminum, chromium, lead, silver, mercury and titanium in tissue samples taken by dart gun from nearly 1,000 whales over five years. Concentrations of chromium found in some whales was several times higher than the level required to kill healthy cells in a Petri dish. Mercury in some whales was 16 times higher than a typical shark or swordfish, both known for their high mercury levels. Beyond whales, "You could make a fairly tight argument to say that it is the single greatest health threat that has ever faced the human species."
posted by stbalbach on Jun 24, 2010 - 68 comments

Physics Experiment Will Use Lead From a Roman Shipwreck

Roman ingots to shield particle detector. "Around four tonnes of ancient Roman lead was yesterday transferred from a museum on the Italian island of Sardinia to the country's national particle physics laboratory at Gran Sasso on the mainland. Once destined to become water pipes, coins or ammunition for Roman soldiers' slingshots, the metal will instead form part of a cutting-edge experiment to nail down the mass of neutrinos." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 16, 2010 - 22 comments

When Mining Attacks

Picher, Oklahoma was part of a major lead mining area in the central US until the middle of the last century, when the mines closed down. It is now the epicenter of the Tar Creek Superfund site. Residents live among mountains of mine tailings known as chat. Heavy metal poisoning is endemic in the area. With fits and starts, things do begin to get done about it, but only very slowly. To add insult to injury, Picher was struck by an EF-4 tornado on May 10th, 2008. The residents are finally suing over the long in coming buyout plan. Shockingly, the buyout plan was put into place with urgency not because of the lead, zinc, and cadmium poisoning, but because the mines are in danger of caving in. There is still word on when the mountains of debris will be removed, or the acid mine drainage stopped. Despite attempts to prevent further contamination in the 1980s and 90s, the waste is still poisoning local creeks and wildlife.
posted by wierdo on Apr 9, 2009 - 15 comments

Book Burning: For Your Health!

Book Burning: For Your Health! "...under a law Congress passed last year aimed at regulating hazards in children’s products, the federal government has now advised that children’s books published before 1985 should not be considered safe and may in many cases be unlawful to sell or distribute." (via Neil Gaiman's twitter stream)
posted by Lentrohamsanin on Mar 15, 2009 - 40 comments

The Leaden Echo and The Golden Echo - Early Childhood Lead Exposure and Criminal Activity Later In Life

...Although crime did fall dramatically in New York during Giuliani's tenure, a broad range of scientific research has emerged in recent years to show that the mayor deserves only a fraction of the credit that he claims. The most compelling information has come from an economist in Fairfax who has argued in a series of little-noticed papers that the "New York miracle" was caused by local and federal efforts decades earlier to reduce lead poisoning. The theory offered by the economist, Rick Nevin, is that lead poisoning accounts for much of the variation in violent crime in the United States. It offers a unifying new neurochemical theory for fluctuations in the crime rate, and it is based on studies linking children's exposure to lead with violent behavior later in their lives. What makes Nevin's work persuasive is that he has shown an identical, decades-long association between lead poisoning and crime rates in nine countries...
Research Links Lead Exposure, Criminal Activity
Research Links Childhood Lead Exposure to Changes in Violent Crime Rates Throughout the 20th Century    (PDF)
posted by y2karl on Jul 8, 2007 - 56 comments

The Man Who Destroyed the Atmosphere

Meet the man who "had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in earth history" - Thomas Midgley, Jr. Midgley invented leaded gasoline in 1921 to stop cars from knocking. In the process, he created a huge new industry, increased by 500 times the atmospheric lead levels, and was part of a multi-decade coverup of lead's effects that put the tobacco industry to shame [note: article is both terrific and very long] and still continues today. Just a few years later, he invented chlorofluorocarbons, and, with a dramatic demonstration of their safety, usured in an era of cheap air conditioning and social change, as well as ozone depletion. In the end, he was killed by one of his inventions, though it was neither lead nor CFCs that were responsible. He is sometimes remembered fondly, he is more often vilified.
posted by blahblahblah on Oct 19, 2006 - 30 comments

proof that lisa frank products contribute to brain damage

some lunch boxes have a DEADLY SECRET
stolen from metaefficient
posted by LimePi on Sep 16, 2005 - 13 comments

Tonight is Silvesterabend,

Tonight is Silvesterabend, the last night of the year. While some feel that champagne and huge, rollicking parties are in order, others feel that quieter times with family and friends are the way to go. Of course, you must also have your pork and sauerkraut for good luck (my mother always asks to make sure I have) and a little Bleigiessen, or fortune telling by pouring molten lead into a liquid, for entertainment. Personally I think champagne tastes like ass so I'll be drinking bottled Gluhwein from my friend's winery.
posted by RevGreg on Dec 31, 2001 - 18 comments

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