OPEN THREAD 20191227

Basically, all legal free speech is allowed. We will assist the authorities in dealing with illegal speech. You are each other’s moderators. Have fun. And don’t forget to MAGA at nuclear levels.

Citizen U

Day 51 – ANTIMONY.

16 thoughts on “OPEN THREAD 20191227

  1. Back in the 1800s, well before there was such a thing as colonoscopy prep, it was considered medicinally sound to occasionally purge one’s bowels merely to maintain general health. Given the general state of sanitation in the day, this may have even been true.

    A popular way of doing this was to ingest one “everlasting pill”. Just like modern (more expensive) colonoscopy prep, your experience would begin a couple of hours later. And keep going, and keep going, and keep going…..until everything was out. Unlike modern colonoscopy prep, there would be a time near the end when the events would be punctuated by a little “clank” in the bowl. Nothing else you’d be doing at the time would sound like it.

    That was your signal to fish the pill out of the bowl, wash it carefully, perhaps sterilize it in some whiskey, and put it away for the next time. The “everlasting pill” was a slug of pure antimony.

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  2. Stibnite — the reason antimony’s symbol is Sb — was a frequent ingredient in kohl, the cosmetic used to enhance the appearance of eyes in Egyptian art…..though it was used earlier and later.

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  3. There are three different heights — all in California — known as “Antimony Peak”. The best-known one is in the San Emigdio mountains of Kern County and rises to a height of 6848 feet (although the climb from the base of the trail is only about 700 feet). A prospector discovered veins of a silvery metal in exposed rocks near the summit and sought to mine it, only to find that the metal was antimony.

    The other two are in the Sierra Nevada range (still in Kern County) and (the shortest) in the Diablo range near the border of San Benito and Merced Counties. Those are the only three with that name in the US.

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  4. About 60% of modern antimony production is used for flame retardants/suppressors — about 20% is used in alloys for batteries, solders, and bearings.

    Much of the flame retardants incorporating antimony are “invisible” — it’s used in fire retardant blankets and children’s clothing, or mixed into fiberglass resins.

    Antimony has long been used to alloy the lead in “lead-acid” batteries (like automobile batteries). It stabilizes the plates physically and also helps maintain optimal use/charge characteristics.

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    1. There’s an interesting wrinkle to this — antimony is refined to a metal, then used to create the flame retardant chemicals which are not metallic. OTOH, antimony is refined to a metal, then used as a metal in battery plates, bearings, and solders. It can be trick to tease out the skinny when sometimes they say, “60% of the metal production” is XXX, and then “the majority of the metal use” is something different.

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  5. Total world production of antimony was 130,000 tonnes in 2016. 100,000 tonnes of that was China.

    Its portion of the earth’s crust is roughly the same as thallium — about .5 ppm — which makes it about 7x more common than silver.

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  6. One clause in the Wikipedia article — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimony — had me reminiscing…..”and in hardening alloys with low tin content in the manufacturing of organ pipes.”

    My grandfather had a side business maintaining, repairing, and tuning pipe organs that lasted well into his retirement. In his later years, he hauled a set of pipes around with him [it wasn’t as large as you might suppose because they were nested]. When I think of him, I always think of pipe organs; and when I think of pipe organs, I always think of him. And, yes, the metal pipes were made of an odd pewter-ish metal.

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  7. And I’m just puttin’ a marker out here….the next time I got nothin’ about the day’s element, I’m doin’ tin.

    We’re talking the difference between Bronze Age and neolithic…..isotopic tracing of prehistoric trade routes….stannous fluoride in toothpaste….

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  8. And for something funny….

    A High School English teacher was correcting student papers and came across the sentence: “The lady tripped at the top of the stairs, fell, and lay prostitute on the floor.”

    After the obligatory facepalm, and facepalm with head-shaking denial when thinking of consequences at the school board with the obvious correction to “prostrate”, the educator underlined the entire sentence in red and linked to remarks: “the writer needs to be more clear whether this is a fallen woman or one who has temporarily lost her balance.”

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      1. It is.

        Yes, the comments were overwhelmingly negative.

        Even if one agrees, it should be an issue for individual states, not the FDA + PDJT’s signature.

        I wonder how old one has to be to purchase weed, though. That’s probably a state’s rights issue. Tobacco is much less harmful than weed.

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  9. Does anyone think the Patriot Act will ever be repealed? It’s 18 years old:

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