August 07, 2006

Science: Gut Instinct vs. Actual Science

Science has brought such badness, that I don't trust it any more!

-Someone who hasn't really thought things through.

It came from nature, so it must be good for you!

-Someone who obviously isn't a gardener.

The idea was this:
Electricity was already being used as a pancea, so the folks who missed the boat there were looking for a new drug they could ride an advertising wave on. Likewise, hot springs were used as health retreats, and had been for centuries. Radiation was a new discovery, and everyone was terribly excited about it.

Combine these together, and you have some bright-bean having the idea to bring a geiger counter to a health resort. The water from hot springs is naturally (slightly) more radioactive than you standard tap water, so what he discovered was that all other water was deficient.

Makes sense, right?

Hot springs are healthy + the spring water is radioactive - tap water is not + people leave the city to get healthy in the country = radiation is good for you!

As a result of this conclusion, an entire industry sprang up focusing on getting as much radioactive materials into consumer's homes as possible, and making a quick buck while doing it. There were radium-impregnated pads to wear over your thyroid glands, blankets with radium woven in, even (my personal favorite) ceramic jugs with a disc of radium sitting inside. These you were supposed to fill with water and let stand for 24 hours before drinking six glasses a day. A playboy/spokesman of one water jug company did this for a few years, then his jaw fell off.

The backlash was considerable.

You can still find find some of the water jugs at auctions and second hand stores on occasion, but if you ever do, may I suggest having them checked by your local geeks before bringing it home?


posted by Thursday at 7:47 pm


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