But where do I get a pound of mercury?

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

On September 16, 2013, the North Carolina Division of Public Health was notified of an elemental (metallic and liquid) mercury spill on a school bus. An elementary student boarded the bus with approximately 1 pound (454 g) of elemental mercury contained in a film canister, which the student had taken from an adult relative who had found it in a neighbor's shed. The canister was handled by several students before the contents spilled on the bus floor. Ten passengers aboard the bus were exposed, including eight students and two staff members. Although elemental mercury is not readily absorbed from skin contact or ingestion, it does vaporize at room temperatures and inhalation of the vapor can be harmful. The bus driver promptly notified school officials. Firefighters and a local hazardous materials team directed decontamination procedures (i.e., changing clothes and washing hands and shoes) for the 10 exposed passengers. The bus was immediately taken out of service and sent for disposal because of its age and the cost of decontamination.

Two students and three family members reported acute symptoms on the day of the exposure, including headache, cough, numbness or tingling in hands, and difficulty breathing. The student who brought the mercury aboard the bus and five family members, including two adults, had elevated blood mercury levels, ranging from 134 µg/L to >200 µg/L. A blood mercury concentration of ≥50 µg/L is considered the threshold for symptoms of toxicity after an acute high level exposure (2). Two children who had symptoms and blood mercury levels >200 µg/L received a 19-day course of dimercaptosuccinic acid chelation therapy (2). Two other children with elevated blood mercury levels but no symptoms were followed every 2 weeks with urine testing until levels normalized. The two adults were referred to their physician for follow-up.

Through this investigation, six persons with blood mercury levels exceeding human health risk thresholds were identified. Two of these persons required chelation therapy.


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Joon Lee:

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Hope Taping Is Killing The Music Industry

DK Style:

Rumor has it that the very first cassette single, Bow Wow Wow's C30, C60, C90, Go! from 1980 -- a song that is about home taping -- also had a blank B-side for the same reason, but I can't find any photographic evidence of this.

That's totally the kind of prank McLaren would have pulled, though. It's also totally the kind of thing he would have taken credit for after it happened by accident.

Update, 2018:
Video unavailable
This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.

I'm just gonna leave that here.

Previously, previously, previously.
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"Relax" was #1 30 years ago.

The Quietus on Frankie Said:

Five. My first introduction to Frankie Goes To Hollywood was the fruity 16 minute mix of 'Relax' that was essentially lots of samples of zips and "water". I can't say that at the age of 13 I was fully aware of what was going on, but something most definitely was. When I got around to see the video, it shed light -- though not much light, dark rooms are dark for a reason -- on a vision of SICK FILTH unseen before. It was probably my Starman moment. It was probably quite a few people's Starman moment. This wasn't the casual draping of an arm around another man. This was dirty and butch and involved a tiger.

Seven. Frankie Goes To Hollywood as the first act to launch Zang Tuum Tumb was like if Virgin had launched with the Sex Pistols. ZTT helped manufacture them into an amazing thing. A last hurrah and accumulation of all the brilliance and invention of the post-punk and perfect pop years, before pop music got all issue-based, serious and people like Simple Minds donned the billowy coats of problem rock.

Eight. 'Two Tribes (Annihilation Mix)' is probably the highest point of eighties 12 inch culture. Nine minutes of drama, sirens, funk, fear and excitement. In a perfect world, it would spend nine weeks at No.1. Summer 1984 -- with 'Relax' climbing back up to No.2 -- seemed like a perfect world, especially one where a pansexual juggernaut was beating off Prince, Wham! and The Smiths. For any teenager in 1984, it certainly felt like the world could go up in nuclear flames at any point, to the extent that I timed if I could run back home within a four-minute warning. 'Two Tribes', with such darkly intoning quotes from the Protect & Survive booklet, coupled with that year's nuclear bomb drama Threads, exacerbated that paranoia.

Ten. 'The Power of Love'. Not even the wet acoustic cover of recent years can dim its majesty. A sentiment such as "I'll protect you from the Hooded Claw" is all you need in a love song.

Eleven. The fourth number one that wasn't -- 'Welcome To The Pleasuredome' -- is the underdog of this tale. What seemed like excess and pretentious guff on the album, is remade into a propulsive banger. It has come out in the intervening years, and removed it's "only No.2" shame to evoke the entire Frankie ethos in one song.

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Current Music: as noted

List of unnamed fictional United States Presidents

Repository of All Human Knowledge:

List of unnamed fictional United States Presidents

Unnamed President in: Donkey Kong in: Banana Day 24

  • Only referred to as "Mr. President"

  • Appears as a likeable and helpful person, in contrast to misc. U.S. Presidents in the Mario universe.

  • Held a summit to search for a solution of the sudden global drop of temperature all over the world.

  • Has easy to convince extraterrestrials.

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Cheers RPG

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Take a Bite Outta The Patriarchy

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SXSW has fucked everything up with DRM.

No useful SXSW torrents this year. Hooray. sxswtorrent.com writes:

The bad news:

Starting this year SXSW is replacing the sample tracks they have provided for years with links to Soundcloud pages. While there are certainly known ways to download those samples, Soundcloud goes through considerable trouble to prevent that from happening. Since these torrents have always been about providing easier access to otherwise readily downloadable samples instead of outright piracy, this regrettably means that, if SXSW sticks with this new design, we will be unable to provide torrents in the future.

The good news:

Since this is a very recent change, we do have a partial set of sample tracks that were released for 2014. It should be on the order of 700-800 songs; however there will likely not be a Part 2. We were not expecting this change, so please be patient as we get our process updated and get a release built. We're hoping to be ready first thing next week (2/24).

So basically, SXSW has made it impossible for me to do my usual prep -- listen to 1500 tracks, decide which ones I like, and then use that list to decide which shows to attend. Without doing that prep, there's really no reason for me to attend at all, because the chance that I'm going to see something I care about drops to basically zero. I'll end up seeing 3 bands a day instead of 14. I wouldn't have bought a ticket, hotel and flight if I'd known I was going to have to go in cold.

Thanks, SXSW. Your attendee-hostility grows every year. It's like you're using Burning Man as your customer service model.

They used to provide full torrents themselves. Then they stopped. Then they used to provide MP3s. Now they've stopped. Next year maybe they won't even bother telling us who's playing!


I guess it's time to update my scrape-sxsw.pl script to try and rip all the music from their site on my own. Anyone got a pointer to a simple, effective and functional Soundcloud downloader? Perl preferred, but anything I can run from the command line is fine.

Update: The torrent is up now, but contains only 783 tracks.

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Hippo Nuts

This article starts off with:

Chances are you've never wondered how difficult it is to remove the testes of a hippopotamus.

Bitch, you don't know me.

Why It's Nearly Impossible to Castrate a Hippo:

The first challenge is that hippopotamuses hide their genitals. The testes are inside the body, instead of outside in a scrotum. (Other mammals in the internal-testes club, since you asked, include the armadillo, sloth, whale, and platypus.) This makes the hippo's testes totally invisible from the outside. Combined with a penis that the paper's authors describe as "discreet," it means it's hard to tell males from females at a distance. [...]

Even after finding the sneaky organs, the procedure wasn't simple. The depth of the testes' hiding places varied by as much as 16 inches from one hippo to the next. Everything had to be done deep inside the animal's body, making it hard to see what was going on. "Grasping the testicle with forceps proved laborious" in most of the animals, the authors write. They also mention using a "two-handed technique" and "moderate traction." The whole hour-and-a-half procedure, based on a method for castrating horses, is described in detail for anyone who wants to try it themselves.

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