Daily Archives: March 30, 2014

Just in time for summer

Stanwich Club parents recklessly expose their children to deadly cyanogen chloride

Stanwich Club parents recklessly expose their children to deadly cyanogen chloride

Whole Food mommies relax: it’s almost impossible for pee pee to turn a pool deadly.

On Wednesday, we wrote about a scientific study showing that pee in a pool’s chlorinated water can yield a toxic chemical called cyanogen chloride. That substance has recommended exposure limits from the World Health Organization and is also considered a chemical warfare agent. The yields from the pool water in the study were not anywhere near deadly or even conclusively harmful. But the next question that bubbled up in Ars readers’ minds was: How much pee would it take to develop a deadly Olympic-sized swimming pool?

As it turns out, the concentration of uric acid in pee is, to our calculation, about 112 times that of the uric acid concentration used in the experiment. If we could assume a proportional yield of cyanogen chloride just from using more uric acid, we could actually achieve toxic levels of cyanogen chloride for an Olympic pool of 10mg/L chlorinated water… for an equivalent quantity of urine. That means if each person is peeing 0.8L of the highly concentrated urine, their entire day’s yield, into this pool, you’d need about three million people peeing in that pool. If you could get at that pool without dying of either suffocation or drowning in other people’s urine, you could probably pull off death by cyanogen chloride poisoning or at least a pretty good coma.

However, there’s a problem. The researchers in the paper showed that for a concentration of 0.33 millimoles of chlorine per liter (about 15 mg/L), the dilute concentration of uric acid (5×10-5 moles per liter) eliminated all of the free chlorine. Hence, if we want chlorinated water that can actually turn all of the uric acid we’re peeing in it into cyanogen chloride, we need a more concentrated chlorinated solution.

If an approximately one-hundredth-strength-of-pee concentration of uric acid uses up 15mg/L chlorinated water, we need super chlorinated water-—on the order of 1500mg/L, or roughly half a liter of chlorine per liter of water.

In the end, we need a pool that is two parts water to one part chlorine and would probably burn the eyeballs out of your sockets and make your skin peel away from your bones (this calls for a pool boy who can only be criminally sadistic). If you and three million other people could get at this pool and unload your pee into it before your bodies melted, before the crowd crushed you to death, and before you drowned from the massive tidal wave of pee… yes, you could feasibly die of cyanogen chloride poisoning originating from chlorinated water and pee.

Of course, it is exactly this kind of risk that the EPA will insist be prevented and regulated against. Imagine if you also tossed a radioactive banana into that pool! Sheer terror at the swim club.


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An American success story


Get your Tootsie Frootsie ice cream, before it melts

Get your Tootsi Frootsi ice cream, before it melts

Little Italy’s on the brink of extinction From an original 50-square blocks to three, and those three are on the way out. The NY Post article provides a voice to the nostalgic but it seems to me that this is really a story of assimilation, with the Italians succeeding and dispersing, as the Jews who replaced the Germans in the lower East Side did, and even – proving that there is a merciful God – the Irish did when they left the bogs and shanties of what would become Central Park and moved out of the city to afflict proper towns like Greenwich. It’s all change, and it’s all good. Besides, the yuppies’ spawn need someplace to live.


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Aboard USS Gloria Steinham


Message: We care

Message: We care

Navy proposes banning cigarette sales on its ships, bases. “We’re a military of social justice and reform now”, Admiral Joseph Porter told FWIW, “not merely a tool of imperialistic force.

“That’s why, faced with a declining budget and limited funds,we’re spending a billion dollars converting our fleet to clean, all-natural vegetable oil instead of nasty, stinky old bunker fuel, which is just loaded with CO2.

“And before we send our Marines ashore to have their legs blown off and their lungs riddled with shrapnel,” he continued, “we want them in tip-top condition. If they survive, they’ll thank us when they’re seventy, and our political leaders will thank us now. Dismissed.”

UPDATE: How could I have forgotten? Libertarian Advocate reminds us that the U.S. Navy adopted this as its official recruiting video in 1978:

UPDATE II: Upon reflection, G&S did it better, and far earlier, as my reference to Admiral Porter hinted.


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