Eppur si muove

Things I Think About, by Peter Bowditch

Is “Moron” a chemical element?

Thimerosal - see the evil mercuryThe old lie that mercury in vaccines is injected into tiny babies just won’t go away. It is usually accompanied by the claim that the preservative Thimerosal which isn’t used any more “contains 49% mercury”. Well, 49% of its molecular weight is made up by the single mercury atom in the 23 atoms of the molecule, but anyone doing first year chemistry at high school would fall about laughing at the suggestion that a compound is the same as its components.

I offered the following advice to an anti-vaccination liar once, but they didn’t get the point. After all, they had been told the 49% mercury story by a real Professor of Chemistry (who also said that thimerosal is 49% ethyl mercury as well as being 49% elemental mercury, that autism should be called “mad child disease” and that both low and high concentrations of mercury in the hair correlate with high mercury levels in the blood).

Don’t let your sugar bowl get near a naked flame. Sugar is 31.25% natural gas (methane) by weight. Wait, it’s 68.75% carbon dioxide by weight, so that will probably put out the fire. If the CO2 doesn’t work, sugar is also 62.5% water by weight so that might help. It’s a pity about the 54.2% ethanol by weight, though, because that could make it flare up again.

Can you see how idiotic it is to talk about one chemical compound being x% of another yet? If not, don’t go near sugar because you might burst into flame, drown, suffocate and get drunk.

Did I mention that sugar is also 87.5% carbon monoxide by weight and will poison you? And the 37.5% carbon by weight will make a mess of your clothes (unless you squeeze it real hard and turn it into diamonds).

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