The Chicago Tribune is running a brilliant investigative series on how flame retardants came to be used in so many of the products that we buy. It turns out that a) they don’t actually stop fires even a little bit b) they cause serious health problems and c) tobacco companies created a fake public interest group to push for laws requiring these useless, expensive chemicals in order to avoid having to create cigarettes that wouldn’t light furniture on fire. →
- TPM: ‘Sovereign Citizen’ Opens Fire On Store Because It Ran Out Of Crawfish
42-year-old Larry Wayne Kelly—yes, middle name "Wayne"— opened fire on Pensacola's L&T Seafood Market with an AK-47 after they sold out of crawfish. When police tried to arrest them, he tried to run them down with his car. But it's OK, Kelly says, because he's a "sovereign citizen"—laws don't apply to him.
- Quora: Is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin a good idea?
This economist makes a good argument that Bitcoin is, at best, a terrible idea and, at worst, a scam.
- Wikipedia: List of IARC Group 2B carcinogens
I thought it was big news that the World Health Organization had classified cell phones as a potential carcinogen, until I read more about "Group 2B," as it's been classified. Also on the list is baby powder, carpentry, coffee, and pickles. These are things that may or may not be carcinogens—nobody knows for sure. Most humans on the planet have mobiles phones, yet brain tumors are no more common now than they've ever been—that seems to settle it for me, at least given the current paucity of evidence.
This is one reason why I’ve written a lot less in the past month and a half. The other reason, which is far cheerier, I hope to announce by way of a new blog within a few weeks.