]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]       ARSENIC AND OLD WASTE     [[[[[[[[[[[[[[ 
            Uploaded by Howard Hayden, Prof. of Physics,
              Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06268
                       (Freeman 06268HAYD)
                                                        8/22/88
[The Buffoonery contains not only statements by the crazies, but
also  spoofs -- as I am sure you will have noted. This  is  one,  
based  on  the infinite halflife of arsenic and all  other  non-
radioactive elements.]

To:
Editor
Chemical and Engineering News

Gentle Folks,
   In regard to recent letters about nuclear waste disposal, we
summarize  a  manuscript  which  archaeologists  have  recently
unearthed written by an early Greek Physician, Chemophobos.
   A  ship's  crew  in  the  Mediterranian  mutinied  against a
tyrannical  captain.    So  angry  were  the  sailors  at their
treatment that they poisoned the captain, and when he died they
threw  his  body  overboard  along  with  an  entire  goblet of
arsenic.
   Chemophobos  described  the  horrible  death  endured by the
captain,  and  then  went   on  to  assess  the   environmental
consequences of  the arsenic  upon the  future of  mankind.  He
used Eratosthenes's  estimate for  the size  of the  globe, and
made  his  own  estimates  for  the  depths  of the oceans, and
concluded  that  when  the  arsenic  which  was dumped into the
Mediterranian  had  become  fully  distributed  in  the Earth's
waters, there would  be an atom  of arsenic in  every goblet of
water that everybody drank.
   Using then-available statistics for the toxicity of arsenic,
Chemophobos predicted that by  the time the earth's  population
reached 4 billion, there would be 12,587,324 deaths every  year
from this unconscionable dumping of poison into the Sea.
   He  reasoned  that  since  arsenic  is  indestructible,  its
toxicity would continue forever.  "If only", he continued, "the
poison were like Zeno's steps (each one half of the  previous),
that with each passing decade, there would be only one half  of
the  poison  of  the  previous  decade,  then  fewer  and fewer
poisonings would occur in  successive decades until the  number
becomes entirely negligible."
   "Would that arsenic and  all other poisons lived  so briefly
that mankind  might endure  longer.   Alas, there  are no  such
radioactive substances."

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