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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Heavy Metal

Pity our poor ancestors who, as Mobiot reports in the Guardian, were exposed to such unreasonable amounts of lead in paint and toys that entire generations turned to violence. Never mind their exposure to Arsenic in printing inks and pigments, Antimony in bath enamel, Mercury in both pure metallic and compound form, Uranium in table glassware and Cadmium in paint pigments. And if loading their bodies with accumulations of toxic heavy metals wasn't enough they faced surgery without anaesthetics, disease without prophylactics and pathogens without antibiotics.

Small wonder then than the poor dears went off and conquered a third of the globe, dominated its oceans, led the industrial revolution, set global scientific standards, built some of the finest engineering structures still known and cowed all but our biggest rivals with our ferocious battle ability. It wasn't our fault, honest, guv; it was chewing toy soldiers as kids what done it.  


Ian Hills said...

How typical of Moonbat. With less exposure to lead now, how come violent crime has increased?

Barnacle Bill said...

I can remember when I first went to sea we used to mix the red lead paint up by hand.
No risk assessments, rubber gloves, face masks or, exposure limits.
Just get your hands into it so you could make sure it was the consistency the first mate wanted.
Some how I've managed to avoid being an axe murderer, bank robber and child abuser.

Although I must admit the old hands twitch a bit when I see any of our political elite about.

Anonymous said...

As the good doctor said in Monty Python and the Holy Grail...

If that witch floats, she must be made of wood.

G. Tingey said...

I think you're all wrong (including Monbiot, that is)

Barnacle B
Well, lucky you!

Seriously, what is wrong is that a lot of those dangerous chemicals were already "bound up" in close chemical association with something else, and were, effectively harmless.
The problems usually arose when the next layer was being applied, or an old one being scraped, or more often burnt off ...
This broke the chemical bonds rendering the mixture/compound relatively safe, resulting in ghastly poisonings in many cases.

As in a loy of these things, the actual particular circumstances pertaining at the time made all the difference.
Even liguid Mercury ..
At room-temperture, provided yuo didn't actually drink it, or handle it for more than a few seconds, was almost harm;ess.
But you only had to warm it up a little, say 40C, and the vapour-pressure rises to the point where you are starting to inhale measurable quantities of something really nasty.

Today, for instance all (ovehead) electified railways use Copper-contact-wire that has a significant amount of Beryllium in it (Euw!) but it is amalgamated into the Copper, & therefore not a problem. But they have to be very, very careful at the factories where they make the cable.

Kemi said...

I wouldn't dismiss it out of hand, even if it is coming from Monbiot (which is why Radio 4 probably covered it this morning) .

I read the original article which I think is worth a look

and the theory seems plausible. i like the fact that they address the correlation != causation issue quite well.

I don't think Monbiot's article really explains what they're talking about. The problem seems to be the exposure to lead in childhood.

It's piqued my interest because leaded petrol is heavily used in Nigeria, inspite of efforts to reduce it. There has been an exponential increase in sociopathic behaviour, correlating with the increase in car use and ownership as the city gets wealthier. Accra in Ghana, where I hear they've successfully phased out leaded petrol is completely different. Similar increases in wealth, car ownership, population expansion in the city, but crime levels have not increased as they have in Lagos.

If the Guardian is even willing to consider that crime levels drop for other reasons than a bigger welfare budget and state-sponsored political correctness, I say we give them a break!

G. Tingey said...

Entirely correct
Note that the Lead in petrol is both burnt & finely divided & spread around - in other words, about as bad as possible.
Red-lead paint, particularly when cold is nowhere nearly as bad - just don't drink it, or get it inot a lot of cuts or abrasions ....
And Lead-Tetraethyl (the petrol sdditive) is, of itself dangerous & very unpleasant.

Old Bat said...

How odd! My old gran, who died over 70 years ago told me as a child that all these Brit colonialists left these shores when she was young just to get away from that stultifying Queen Victoria!

Edward Spalton said...

Years ago there were several farming families in Derbyshire we knew whose members suffered various sorts of ill health which some people put down to genetic causes.

When mains water supplies became available it was found that the natural water supplies of these farms contained high levels of lead. (Parts of Derbyshire were once lead mining areas).
So it wasn't "bad blood" as some had surmised. Yet I cannot recall these unfortunate families being associated with criminality in any way.

Breeding was once thought to play a part in that though. My father told me of a conversation in the old Constitutional Club which was frequented by some of the City Fathers who were also magistrates. They had passed a very severe sentence on one young man and someone commented on it.
"Well" said one of the court "We knew the family and took his future character into account".

Things could work the other way too. An old newspaper man I knew very well had been a cub reporter just before the war and whilst waiting for his call-up. He told me of a case of poaching where the clerk of the court said said, "You may not wish to hear this case, Sir. The offence was on your property". "Put him up!" said the fiercely moustachioed, red faced Brigadier. The case was one clearly arising from genuine, desperate hardship and the Brigadier gave an absolute discharge. All very irregular and wouldn't do nowadays. The Brigadier's descendants are still stewards of their ancestral acres with deep Christian principles.

G. Tingey said...

Deeply christian principles means shitting on someone from the greates possible height - read your history to ascertain the truth of this.
Deeply humanitarian charitable prionciples, I will accept.
What has that got to do with religion (any religion)?

Budgie said...

"What has that got to do with religion?"

What it has to do with religion is that a moral code to be valid must come from a non human source, ie God.

The reason is straightforward: it is because my moral code is not the same as your moral code; and no appeal to a "higher" moral code to support your own is possible, by hypothesis.

Edward Spalton said...

If you look at the effects of the atheist movements of the last two centuries - from the French Revolution onwards, you will see that they were massively more murderous than anything before.

As a result of anti Christian. Philosophy of today, we have seen the murder of over 6 million unborn children in this country alone, followed by the in inevitable pressure to extend the practice to the inconvenient elderly - and indeed to young children whom their parents or "society" find inconvenient.
Christian governments have done terrible things in spite of the tenets of their religion. Atheist materialists and the followers of other politico-religious ideologies have done and are doing far worse because of their beliefs. As scripture says of false prophets " By their fruits shall ye know them" . Nobody murdered children on an industrial scale before the ascendancy of atheism - and accorded the murderers the status of healers.
I just mentioned the motivation of the merciful magistrate in passing , as I happened to know it as typical of the way that family has continued to wield the influence of its inherited position - in humility and mercy.

Not, of course, that these are solely Christian virtues but when mortal, fallible, sinful men set up what they think to be their reason as a god, the path leads straight to the gulag, the concentration camp and today' slaughter of the innocents.

Now I have really gone off topic!

I expect we shall h-ave to agree to disagree.

G. Tingey said...

No god (if if that "god" exists at all) is detectable.

And therefore 150% irrelevant.

Not detectable directly or indirectly. No events or causations exist that are not explicable in the normal course of natural causes and random occurrences. This includes, most importantly, the information-flow that must pass to and from any "god", so that he, she, it, or they can themselves observe, or intervene in "their" universe. If there is any god around, then that information-flow will also be detectable. Where is it?

I see also the usual deluded lies about the gulag & others ...
Oh dear .. communiism is a classic religion:
[I believe Bertrand Russell was the first to note this] .. But the behaviour of both individual Marxists, and marxist organisations, and the construction of their internal power organisation and heirarchies conforms to classical religious behaviour. For example: people read a set number of Trotsky’s saying each day, just as if he were Jesus, or Mahmud. Or appeal to “the historical inevitability of the revolution” etc …
I may add that it passes ALL the tests, if one cares to list them:
1] It has a “Holy” book or books.
2] The words in those books may not be questioned, even when demonstrated proven wrong.
3] It has sub-divisions and sects and “heresy”, and heretics, in Trevor-Ropers phrase are “even wronger” than unbelievers.
4] Those sects fight each other, either by open warfare or in internal pogroms.
5] It is structurally based on the RC church, complete with its own “holy office”
6] Which leads to the gulag – the communist equivalent of the churches years of penitence and autos-de-fé
7] Thousands if not millions are killed in the name of the “holy cause” to bring about a supposed millennium
8] It persecutes all the competing religions
9] In some sects it even denies Evolution by Natural Selection (look up Trofim Lysenko)

No Mr Spalton, christian guvmints have done terrible things, because they are (christian) religious believers.
I suggest you start with Martin Luther's writings on ether or both of: "REason" & "The Jews & their lies".
Then go on to the blood-soaked record of the RC church.

Edward Spalton said...

Dear Greg,
I think you are setting up straw men and knocking them down to your own satisfaction. Europhiles frequently use the same technique.e.

As I said earlier, I think we had better agree to disagree.

Best wishes.

G. Tingey said...

In what way are any of those propositions "straw"?

I sugest you examine history for your evidence - which you will find tends to support my position.

What I sadio about Luther's writings or the deeds of the RC chirch are matters of public record, are they not?

Tommy Jefferson said...

He's not called moonbat for nothing

G. Tingey said...

Specially for Xtians amongst you .....

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"...a moral code to be valid must come from a non human source, ie God"

Good grief.

You wouldn't be nice to small children unless your Sky-Fairy told you to?

Speak for yourself, mate.