When a food additive is allowed because it makes a food more colorful, therefore profitable….be worried. I mean you’ll literally feel the effects of a depleted ozone layer. For example: Thomas Midgley, under the direction of Charles Kettering at the General Motors Research Labs, is credited with the invention of the refrigerants known as Chloro-Fluoro- Carbons (CFCs) in 1928. Gee, wonder why. The poles alternately experience several months of constant darkness and constant sunlight. There’s enough “save the environment” nonsense here in the US. Being of an inquiring mind, he invented a hoist mechanism to help him get in and out of bed. It’s easy to vilify Midgley in hindsight. For those of you who do not know, I am a chemical engineering major. This doesn’t mean it is dangerous in small concentrations in fuel or after reacting to another form in combustion (metallic lead is non-toxic – what came out the exhaust pipe?). I assume you all drive, and while pumping up your car with gasoline you’ve probably noticed that the gas is advertised as “unleaded.”  This is to stress that they are not in fact using Midley’s awful invention of leaded gasoline, which was first used to prevent the “knocking” that frequently occurred in the bad combustion engines used in early cars. This eliminated engine knock completely by raising the octane of the gasoline, which causes higher combustion. You could also argue that he is responsible for overpopulation and impact caused by so many humans on the ecosystem :). According to some estimates, each gallon of leaded gasoline burned would emit four grams of lead oxide, resulting in buildup along roadsides and in tunnels, as well as in the air. Unlike compounds such as ammonia, butane (yes, really) and sulphur dioxide, freon could be breathed by people and wasn't flammable. An MIT chemist alerted him to a new periodic table based on the Bohr model of the atom. Midgley rose to prominence because of the leaded-gas business, becoming vice president of the new Ethyl Gasoline Corporation. However, iodine was far too cost prohibitive. He “inhaled a large amount of the gas, and then blew out a candle flame, showing it to be non-toxic and non-flammable.”, Like his earlier invention, chemical manufacturing giants immediately hopped on the freon wagon. Nice! He may have believed he could clear his lungs with some fresh air on a vacation. Smart News Keeping you current One Man Invented Two of the Deadliest Substances of the 20th Century Thomas Midgley Jr.’s inventions have had an outsize impact—not all … Most likely not. I hope for the sake of my faith in humanity that you are joking. An example of this would be gold. Medical science was fairly primitive back then. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/10/26/did-we-really-save-the-ozone-layer/, “Charles Kettering had recently invented an electric ignition at Delco for combustion engines. http://www.radiolab.org/story/180132-how-do-you-solve-problem-fritz-haber/. The ignition system had been invented long before. The only trouble was that lead deposits formed in the engine. Ethyl is still used in aviation and (illegally manufactured) in China. The other additive that worked was a myriad of forms of alcohol (insert NASCAR and Moonshine runner reference here, insert link to the old movie “Thunder Road” here). It is only when it gets into the upper atmosphere that it causes problems Big problems that is with the ozone layer. Ken Yap wrote a reply on project log One slight drawback . That ozone hole is still there. It worked when I tried it on my neighbor’s barking dog. There are many things done in the past that have caused harm, but that may have been the only way to have moved forward to discover other potentially, TBD, less dangerous ways of doing things. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe Midgely is only a villain, and DuPont is the real super-villain. In that very year the League of Nations recommended a ban on interior lead paints due to health concerns, and though Europe complied, the United States declined to adopt the resolution. Leaded gasoline helped the automobile industry take off and synthesized Freon extended the lifespan of lifesaving vaccines, but they took an incredible toll on the environment. By definition, average IQ doesn’t raise or lower, the mean is always set at 100 points. Died by his own hand, one way or another, I guess. do you have any links or information to support those claims? During one of the more recent lectures, my professor brought up the chemist Thomas Midgley, Jr.  Midgley was a man who made significant contributions to the chemical community, as he developed leaded gasoline and discovered how to synthesize Freon. The thing with tetra ethyl lead is that it very easily permeates membranes, which is why it’s so dangerous. When a volcano has a violent eruption, millions of tons of all kinds of nasty stuff gets an express elevator ride to the stratosphere. Volcanoes that are active, slowly venting, just simmering along, put out huge amounts of sulfur and chlorine containing compounds, none as strongly bound together as CFCs. This was bad:  these gases are toxic so if there were any leaks, you had to evacuate your house. The following month the company won valuable publicity when the first three finishers in the Indianapolis 500 all ran on Ethyl gas. Following the coursework for my major, I am currently taking CHE 220:  Introductory Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, or as pretty much everyone in the class calls it:  thermo. You may have heard of these bad boys, as they’ve received quite a bit of publicity for not being so good for the ozone layer. That is hardly a reason to stop using smart phones. Are you calling Australia’s issues ‘nonsense’? A fact could beat you with a baseball bat and you’d evidently still deny it. If he was well after going to Florida, then he never had lead poisoning. Cookie Policy That fact bugs the Chevy fanboys about as much as pointing out that all the first year Corvettes had 6 cylinder engines, needless to say, I’m not a ‘Vette fan either. The answer goes back to this day in 1921, when General Motors engineer named Thomas Midgley Jr. told his boss Charles Kettering that he’d discovered … Anyone who tried to release a report on the negative health effects of lead would have their lab or workspace raided to shut down the study. Even when your timing is adjusted properly, and the burning occurs after TDC, short fast burns are less efficient at transferring energy to the piston than long slow burns. It’s common in medicines, for example Prilosec and Nexium. Midgley did not believe that TEL posed any more of a threat than anything else containing lead. There are a crapton of technology and schools of thought that we eagerly throw away because something “better” came along. After all that destruction, who would have thought he would have been so susceptible to the common rope? Ireally bout he would have tea bagged his other pair in mercury. Who is the villain there? Click to enlarge. The compounds in use at the time were highly toxic and flammable. skohll liked Solder Fume Extractor - Battery + USB. I’m sure he knew “mad hatters” were insane from mercury poisoning from mercury compounds used in making hats. Go back to posting about hacks, and save the lefty geopolitics for Daily Kos. The neurotoxic effects of lead have been known for many years. Interesting video the shot of the pipeline showed a “pig” inside with explaining it’s purpose. Nothing wrong with embracing the “new”. No. What the public didn’t know was that Midgley had recently spent six weeks in Florida, golfing in the sunshine in an attempt to clear his own lungs of lead particles. No, Kettering did not invent the ignition system, he’s credited with inventing the starter, and the team he was working with invented the automotive electrical system that incorporated the starter, the generator, the ignition system, and current for lighting all into one system. He is single-handedly responsible for creating two of the most destructive compounds in American history. “Somehow, Thomas Midgley didn’t die of lead or refrigerant poisoning.” According to the Inventors’ Hall of Fame (of which he is also an inductee), the scientist—who originally trained as an engineer—held a total of 117 patents, many of which didn’t kill anybody. He tried adding iodine, which worked well. By using our website and services, you expressly agree to the placement of our performance, functionality and advertising cookies. The story and the comments are linking the dangers of production with the dangers of use, which are not connected. Sure, certain things are better the second go around, DVDs are are a nice improvement over clunky Laser Discs but it’s hard to be excited about something like the GoPro when I had the Flip before it and I’m quite annoyed at anything even remotely stinking like DIVX (Circuit City not the algorithm). And, the thing about throttling nuclear reactors is that since the fuel costs are nearly neglible, one can simply dump heat to get them to adjust as fast as you like. Villains never do evil because they want to do evil, they do evil because it’s right in their eyes. Learn more, Thomas Midgley, GM, And The Dark Side Of Progress, he bathed his own eyeball in mercury and played the waiting game, http://www.radiolab.org/story/180132-how-do-you-solve-problem-fritz-haber/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycGRERrGsMo, http://www.damninteresting.com/the-ethyl-poisoned-earth/, http://www.thenation.com/article/secret-history-lead/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_C._Durant, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUEoq2HUKWo, OpenOffice Or LibreOffice? (hydrogen + nitrogen => ammonia, forced together with extreme temperature and pressure, thanks to the magic of le chatelier’s principle). A small modular reactor could run up and down all day long, but you can’t build those because it wouldn’t be profitable when you can at best get a license to build one reactor per decade. Charles Kettering had recently invented an electric ignition at Delco for combustion engines. He came up with a way to extract it from seawater, but it took ten tons of seawater to obtain one pound of bromine. took eyeball I suppose. As a result, I see a lot of “repeated” technology. If DuPont is a super-villain, GM is also. He also found that dichlorodifluoromethane (a type of fluorocarbon commercialized under the trade name Freon-12) could be used as a safe refrigerant. The warnings went unheeded.”. Speaking of mercury, Midgley once got a bunch of small metal fragments in his eye. Read like a trolling comment it ‘s probably a troll, but do you have references for those claims? Yeah, thanks to my smartphone, I nearly overdosed on information the other day. Privacy Statement Get the best of Smithsonian magazine by email. Smithsonian Institution. The reason for that is because fluorine is one of the most reactive elements. I just wonder how DuPont was the company that ended up with all the initial rights to PTFE, which DuPont calls “Teflon”, when PTFE emerged out of the Manhattan Project. Advertising Notice Midgley began to transition from a mechanical engineer to a self-taught chemist. The whole deal with banning R-12 and R-22 smacks of a deal to make money with new, freshly patented refrigerants, that also happen to require new, synthetic lubricants. He found that all the known antiknock agents were made of heavy elements and decided that the heaviest ones must be the most promising. How many completely safe compounds do you use every day that use concentrated ammonia, nitric acid, or chlorine in production, where an accident will easily kill people by exposure? Right? Midgley continued to work for Charles Kettering and General Motors. refrigerant poisoning? Continue As a hater of GM (mostly because of this TEL thing), I do enjoy the fact that the founder of GM, had a middle name of Crapo. Kat Eschner is a freelance science and culture journalist based in Toronto.

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