We’re going to talk about alternate universes. I want mine back because yours is regressing to savagery and superstitution entirely too rapidly. On MY home world bliss for a small child is having someone else drop a thermometer and playing with the glob of mercury that breaks up into perfect little spheres that combine instantly when they touch each other. We chased them around until we had one big wobbly lump, broke it apart, and continued to marvel that no matter how many times we attempted to make it behave otherwise, it continued to demonstrate that it was mercury and recombining was what it DID when it wasn’t reacting to heat. One can only wonder how many young scientists sprang from playing with silvery metal that didn’t act like metal, and with a tiny tin box that held two replicas of Scotty dogs, one black, one white, mounted on magnets…from which we learned the properties of magnetic materials and the concepts of attraction, repulsion, and polarity.
Nobody screamed hysterically that mercury is a deadly poison; I can’t even recall anyone telling us not to eat it, which is probably why we didn’t. Everyone knows that parents are obsessive hysterics bent upon keeping children from enjoying life to the fullest. My darling Charles recalls early experiments with gunpowder, back when salt peter was on hand to preserve meat and sulphur and charcoal were readibly available and is regaling me with tales of making a cannon that shot ball bearings with very destructive effects, designing rockets, and producing his own sparklers (iron filings for red, aluminum filings for white, copper for green.) John, my deceased husband, never told me exactly how he combined ingredients out of a standard chemistry set when he was eight and produced an explosion that made him smile fondly fifty years later. And your America wonders why it is falling behind in science.
I can get back on track a bit by asking if you have read the instructions for disposing of a broken or burned out compact flourescent light bulb, the only kind you will be able to buy a year from now. They involve evacuating the house, airing it thoroughly, probably pick up the broken glass with half a raw potato, sealing the remains, and then taking them to a haz mat disposal center. Right. Sure. Charles and I laughed simultaneously realizing that any normal, non-brain-washed kid whose age is still in single digits would conclude within nano seconds that throwing CFLs and watching them break would be highly entertaining. It sounds like fun to me, and I’ve never thrown anything more lethal than eggs. Which is also satisfying, since they’re the right heft….and if snow were packed around the egg, the splat would be glorious, the surprise complete, and the trajectory more predictable…actually, it would be rather like a golf ball, wouldn’t it? And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, a basic difference between my world and yours, when sweet little old ladies can see possibilities in properties and twinkle mischievously over the thought that when we try this out come winter no one will ever suspect ancient pillars of the community of such goings on.
What this has to do with investing is the Greens have worked assiduously to tie up your country’s ample supply of rare earths and sat idly while an obvious foe cornered the market. I have no idea how many light bulbs are consumed annually, but that number will increase due to population and the fact that fluourescents do not produce good reading lights. Investigate Brewster county in Texas because it is possible that some of the copious amounts of mercury to be found there were not sequestered deliberately in Big Bend National and State parks. Perhaps mercury is mined in Canada, or found in Mexico, which is, after all, adjacent to the Big Bend country. In your spare time, accumulate several cases of marvelous, soon to be forbidden incandescent bulbs. There are riots in Europe over the remaining stock because their ban begins 1/1/11 instead of 1/1/12. Mercury is bound to increase in price and scarcity, and probably we should have put some money into this several years ago, but it is possible you’ll find a nice little company all set to explode financially.
Giggle…I read an article earlier this week with carefully-disguised/misleading “instructions” on how easily the simplest possible “dirty bomb” could be used to annihilate any city with a great deal of foot traffic, but I won’t tell you anything more lethal than to save your burned out lightbulbs in case you ever need to make an easy defensive device. Several of my older readers will surely grin, either knowing what two ingredients I would use (no, liquid detergent is not one of them.) As the other article said repeatedly, “The bad guys already know.” Both of them are readily available, and one you throw out frequently. The bad guys already know that, too. The hardest part is getting the metal part off the end of the glass bulb without breaking it.
You see why I prefer my universe to yours? In mine, adorable elderly nuts like me know how to defend ourselves but never have to. In yours, most of you do not know and may well require that knowledge. In mine nobody dictates how much water I can use to flush a toilet, what kind of lightbulbs I am allowed to use, or dilutes hydrogen peroxide to 3% lest someone know what to do with a 30% solution. I was enchanted, at four, by the stickers we were supposed to put on vacuum cleaner bags before disposing of filled ones: “Beneath this sticker lies death, dirt, and disease.” Oooh! Excitement!
Other than warning not to mix chlorine bleach with toilet cleaner I don’t think anything warned “Keep out of the reach of children.” These days even the Vitamin C bottle contains that and short of packing your nose and mouth full of it there is no conceivable way to kill yourself with ascorbic acid that a child could manage, and very few an adult could. Off hand I can’t come up with a single one, but I’m not a chemist. For the record, if you’ll promise me never to eat polar bear liver I will assure you that there is no way to do yourself in with vitamins, period. Okay, you could try ingesting a couple of million units a day of D for about six months, at which point your hair would fall out and your eyeballs would turn orange, but surely you would stop, you would recover, and the experiment would be ruinously expensive.
Everybody rebel and live dangerously, or at least accumulate information. Stockpile brake fluid or something. Take fencing lessons. Learn to throw knives. Contemplate a nail gun as a defensive weapon. Buy a sword cane and two cases of wasp spray At least go shopping for used toilets and replace the low flush ones in your house; it must be conducive to disease to use so little water. I don’t know what set me off, but there are entirely too many entities in this world (gangs, terrorists, armies, even police forces) for us not to have at least some idea of how to protect ourselves against home intrusions.