funranium: (Science Diet)
 I may, perhaps, have done something rather foolish involving a very large Stein of Science, 4.3L of beer, and a pith helmet.  Because, as [livejournal.com profile] warren_ellis says, LJ is run on steam pipes and rubber bands I must redirect you to the post I made over at Funranium Labs:

Rising To The Challenge - Using the 4.3L Stein of Science
My hand, wrist, and shoulder still hurt.
funranium: (Didn't Hurt)
I am going to go out on a limb here and assume that you all may be aware of certain consumer safety concerns regarding toys made in China.  Specifically, that toys that conveniently fit in toddler mouths are loaded with lead.  While lead paint is deliciously sweet, testing for lead had generally been a prohibitively expensive bit of chemistry for the average concerned inner city mother living in a decrepit lead loaded building.

No more!  Now a quick X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis can be performed by bringing a hand held instrument similar to this up to the toy's surface and pulling the trigger.  You get a quick no muss, no fuss answer.  And because it is hand held, battery powered and running at a comparatively low peak beam voltage it is intrinsically safe, right?

Wrong.



The bad part is the I KNOW that the hacker community is going to start getting a hold of these things on craigslist and ebay soon, before they're more stringently regulated, if they haven't already.  It wouldn't take all that much work to seriously deviate these instruments from their original analytical purpose.

ADDENDUM: While I have described this machine in dire circumstance, it is a description of the worst case scenario of drunken frat boys with just enough technical knowledge to be very dangerous.  Normal operation for this unit is absolutely safe, which is why no one had an particular interest in regulating it.  This unit, and the many questionable QA knockoffs of it, are awesome pieces of technology that bring laboratory grade analytical technique to every corner of the world.  Unfortunately, I have to plan for the failure mode of hooting idiots.  My job is to impede the forces of natural selection.  Pity me.
funranium: (FECK OFF CUP!)

...unlike her husband who successfully tried to kiss the bottom of a cart wheel.

No, instead I speak of poor lab hygeine and the danger of long hair. Hopefully this will not lead to me getting tongue cancer.

I couple weeks back I conducted an absinthe taste test challenge. For safety of shipment, my absinthes (Hapsburg Red and King of Spirits) were stored in nalgene bottles. I transported them in my smallest backpack, brought them home, and then forgot about them.

This scenario has been repeated so many times in the accident histories and cautionary tales its not funny.

While cleaning up this afternoon, I came upon my backpack and opened it up. At first, I was elated to see my precious bottles of evil green liquid. I then felt stickiness. I immediately checked the lids of the two bottles and found that the King of Spirits one had some give. Dammit. I then reached into the bag to feel for any wetness and found a sticky spot. Double dammit.

Six hours pass.

I get home after dropping Mackenzie off. I start undressing so I can throw these clothes in the load of laundry I am about to run. There is tremendous pain from the tugging of hair. A tangle has caught on one of the buttons on my shirt. As always, I run my fingers through my hair to clear the tangle. It doesn't work though, this is a serious snarl and it is sticky.

I look at my hair to inspect this oddity.

Then I stick it in my mouth.

I would like to say that I did it to moisten the sticky substance so that I could clear the tangle.  Even the scientific inquiry of wanting to determine the material by taste, while a bad idea, would be reasonable.  I wish I could say these things, but honestly it was action without thought. 

King of Spirits is a revoltingly herbal flavored absinthe, worse than chartreuse can ever hope to acheive.  It got in my hair when my copper tresses dangled into the bag, as I realized sputtering and spitting my hair back out.

I am not sure I should be allowed to play with hazardous materials now.  I have also come to the realization that achieving the zen like state where one acts without thought does not preclude stupid action.  It is a wonder samurai didn't wander around with underwear on top of their heads.

December 2012

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