A manmade demon discovered
Posted: 14 December 2013 01:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
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IMO, in the practical sciences we know just enough to get ourselves into deep trouble.

Newly detected greenhouse gas is 7,000 times more potent than CO2
Denise Chow,  LiveScience

PFTBA has been used in electrical equipment since the mid-1900s. So far, there are no policies in place to regulate its use, particularly within the context of climate change, Hong said.

There are also no known ways to destroy or remove PFTBA from the atmosphere, and the chemical has a very long life span. Molecules of PFTBA could linger in the lower atmosphere for hundreds of years, according to the researchers.

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/newly-detected-greenhouse-gas-7-000-times-more-potent-co2-2D11741577

[ Edited: 14 December 2013 01:48 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 14 December 2013 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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After reading the article I have to say your thread title is the type of hyperbole that gives journalism a bad name.

For the study, the researchers collected atmospheric data from November 2012 to December 2012, and measured the proportion of PFTBA in the atmosphere at 0.18 parts per trillion. This means that for every 1 trillion air molecules, less than a full molecule of PFTBA is present. For comparison, the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million earlier this year.

And a couple of paragraphs later:

Yet, much is still unknown about the chemical’s history, including whether concentrations of PFTBA have changed over time.

Sure, PFTBA sounds bad, and could be a significant contributor to global warming, but as it stands the chemical is something that needs more study, and at less than one-part-per-trillion in the atmosphere is not a current threat. Drop the scare tactics and stick to facts, please. Blowing this out of proportion does not help.

Edit: corrected a typo.

[ Edited: 14 December 2013 08:24 PM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 14 December 2013 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yea, our mad rush towards the future whatever, has blinded us to what we are doing to the today.  Which doesn’t bode well for folks who are going to inherit this planet from our generation.


It’s a madman’s thought, but sometimes I gotta wonder, what could the world have been like had WWI and WWII not come along to supercharge scientific advancement in a way that peace-time societies never can.  What if all those advances had trickled in (rather than gushed in a flood) allowing a little more time for considering the consequences of our various modern marvels.

Probably the money people and their pet politicians would have simply had to find another excuse for another war.

Maybe “thoughtful consideration” is only a myth - something that human’s fancy they do, but that in fact we are only capable of it in minute spurts now and them… and soon abandoned in favor of following our impulses where ever they may lead.

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Posted: 14 December 2013 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Darron does have a point about the dramatic title.

It all comes down to how much of this stuff is being used.
I been doing some web-surfing and for all the articles that relate to the recent study I’m having a tough time finding anything on its industrial uses and what kind of volumes of the stuff are being produced and used.

There’s a WIKI article that looks like it’s just been put up
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfluorotributylamine

It includes this hint: “^ Garrelts, J. C. (1990). “Fluosol: An oxygen-delivery fluid for use in percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty”. DICP : the annals of pharmacotherapy 24 (11): 1105–1112. “

If it’s mainly used in pharmacology, than amounts are probably quite small, as opposed to being a new super-duper cleaner/solvent or something.

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Posted: 14 December 2013 01:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 14 December 2013 08:51 AM

Darron does have a point about the dramatic title.

It all comes down to how much of this stuff is being used.
I been doing some web-surfing and for all the articles that relate to the recent study I’m having a tough time finding anything on its industrial uses and what kind of volumes of the stuff are being produced and used.

There’s a WIKI article that looks like it’s just been put up
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfluorotributylamine

It includes this hint: “^ Garrelts, J. C. (1990). “Fluosol: An oxygen-delivery fluid for use in percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty”. DICP : the annals of pharmacotherapy 24 (11): 1105–1112. “

If it’s mainly used in pharmacology, than amounts are probably quite small, as opposed to being a new super-duper cleaner/solvent or something.

I admit the title was a a little sensational, however, it is not the first time we have unleashed chemical demons into our lives. Comes to mind DDT, Thalidomide,

wiki,

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are compounds that resist degradation and thus remain in the environment for years.[47] Some pesticides, including aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, and toxaphene, are considered POPs.[47] POPs have the ability to volatilize and travel great distances through the atmosphere to become deposited in remote regions.[47] The chemicals also have the ability to bioaccumulate and biomagnify, and can bioconcentrate (i.e. become more concentrated) up to 70,000 times their original concentrations.[47] POPs may continue to poison non-target organisms in the environment and increase risk to humans[48] by disruption in the endocrine, reproductive, and immune systems; cancer; neurobehavioral disorders,[47] infertility and mutagenic effects, although very little is currently known about these chronic effects. Some POPs have been banned, while others continue to be used.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_pesticides

It was actually a response to the introduction of artificial DNA

Hirao explains that inclusion of a fifth base might increase the structural diversity of DNA to better fit its target. Furthermore, unlike natural bases, Ds is highly hydrophobic, which might tighten interactions with hydrophobic parts of target proteins.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-07-tighter-artificial-dna.html#jCp

My great fear is the speed in which we are replacing natural evolution (and selection) with artificial nanotechnology.

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Posted: 14 December 2013 03:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Write4U - 14 December 2013 01:20 PM

My great fear is the speed in which we are replacing natural evolution (and selection) with artificial nanotechnology.

Comparing something with less than one part per trillion concentration in the atmosphere and no historical data with DDT and Thalidomide is a bit deceitful.

Y’all know I’m as much a champion of the environment as anyone around here, but we need to stick to facts and avoid hype if we are to get our message across. PFTBA is obviously bad stuff and should be studied immediately to determine its consequences, but it is much to soon to declare it on the same level at two of the worst chemicals mankind has invented.

Edit: yet another dang typo.

[ Edited: 14 December 2013 08:24 PM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 14 December 2013 04:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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DarronS - 14 December 2013 03:31 PM
Write4U - 14 December 2013 01:20 PM

My great fear is the speed in which we are replacing natural evolution (and selection) with artificial nanotechnology.

Comparing something with less than one part per trillion concentration in the atmosphere an no historical data with DDT and Thalidomide is a bit deceitful.

Y’all know I’m as much a champion of the environment as anyone around here, but we need to stick to facts and avoid hype if we are to get our message across. PFTBA is obviously bad stuff and should be studied immediately fro determine its consequences, but it is much to soon to declare it on the same level at two of the worst chemicals mankind has invented.

I agree, it was alarmist.

But as some of these compounds have very long lifespans, there is an accumulative effect. I always try to keep the butterfly’s analogy in mind and these things kinda scare me, because their presence is constantl expanded. I am firmly convinced that the incidence of certain “social diseases” are a result of the artificial stuff we are exposed to when living in close proximity, without proper planning of possible impact on the ecosystem and by extension global environment. In certain places we have altered the naturally rural environment and its functions in significant ways and we are now responsible for its maintenance. Quite a responsibility, if you ask me.

[ Edited: 14 December 2013 04:23 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 14 December 2013 04:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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As I said, we need to study this immediately. And I agree we are starting to see many unintended consequences of our industrial society, global climate change chief among them, but also declining fertility rates.

Edit: damn you autocorrect!

[ Edited: 14 December 2013 08:23 PM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 14 December 2013 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I can’t help but smile when non-scientists freak out at some new development and see it as causing great harm.  Of course, new materials can be put to negative uses, but they also usually have positive sides.  Why don’t people scream about the huge amount of human casualties caused by the invention and use of gun powder?  Certainly we recognize the real damage to our atmosphere from the burning of carbon based compounds, but if we had not had coal then petroleum products, most of our civilization wouldn’t even exist now. 

Fluorinated compounds made refrigeration far more efficient.  However, all of the ones used in aerosol spray cans in the fifties to nineties (Freons) went into the upper atmosphere, cause ozone degradation, and degrade very slowly.  That’s what the article is talking about. 

I’m not arguing in favor of Freons or carbon based energy sources, but Darron is correct that we have to think more broadly and not go off the deep end every time some new article ends up in the newspaper. 

By the way, I think the guy who published the research is a fraud because we’ve known about the damage caused by fluorinated and brominated compounds for a good forty years. 

Occam

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Posted: 14 December 2013 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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You’re right as usual, Occam. I just looked at the article again, and noticed the photo of smog enshrouding Los Angeles, with the caption

Smog shrouds downtown Los Angeles, a city with one of the worst air quality levels in the country.

This is journalism at its most pathetic. Are any of you on LinkedIn? If so, please endorse me for science writing skills. I’m going to graduate soon and am looking for a job.

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Posted: 17 December 2013 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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DarronS - 14 December 2013 08:28 PM

You’re right as usual, Occam. I just looked at the article again, and noticed the photo of smog enshrouding Los Angeles, with the caption

Smog shrouds downtown Los Angeles, a city with one of the worst air quality levels in the country.

This is journalism at its most pathetic. Are any of you on LinkedIn? If so, please endorse me for science writing skills. I’m going to graduate soon and am looking for a job.

But then we also run across little tidbits, which tell a story about potentially very serious, if unintended, consequences of man-made atmospheric disturbances,

In 2012 for example, the ozone hole was the second smallest on record, an apparently positive sign that the 1989 Montreal Protocol agreement - which called for the phasing out of Freon and other damaging chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs - was working.

but then,

By the mid-2030s, chlorine levels are forecast to be 20 percent lower than current levels, leading to consistently smaller ozone holes. A full recovery is expected between 2058 and 2090 and most likely around 2070, scientists said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/16/us-science-ozone-idUSBRE9BF1BN20131216?feedType=RSS&feedName=scienceNews&rpc=76

That makes it about 80-100 years (1 lifetime) before that benign little demon chlorofluorocarbon will be controlled.

[ Edited: 17 December 2013 08:03 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 17 December 2013 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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No, it’s already being controlled, as your data shows.  All life changes the earth - pollutes it, if you want to call it that.  For many centuries we’ve been dumping stuff into the ocean, and the various change sources degrade it and it disappears.  Only when we dump stuff at a greater rate than the environment can handle it do we see a problem.  We did it for a while with the gaseous fluorocarbons, but now we’re putting far less into the atmosphere and the natural consequences of sunlight energy and just plain old chemical reactions are degrading them into innocous compounds that get washed down and fade away. 

Our problem is no longer fluorocarbons, it’s carbon dioxide.  And while we blame use of carbon based energy sources, the real problem is too damned many of our species.  If there were only, say, 5% of us, we could each be polluting with burning coal and petroleum all we want and not even make a dent in the environment. 

So, yes, we have to reduce our use of carbon based fuels, but as a species we’ll come up with some other way of screwing up the environment faster than it can recover.  Then, we’ll have to fix that.

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Posted: 17 December 2013 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Some man-made demons don’t require chemicals, modern technology or anything physical—theism being the best example.

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Posted: 17 December 2013 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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DarronS - 14 December 2013 08:28 PM

You’re right as usual, Occam. I just looked at the article again, and noticed the photo of smog enshrouding Los Angeles, with the caption

Smog shrouds downtown Los Angeles, a city with one of the worst air quality levels in the country.

This is journalism at its most pathetic. Are any of you on LinkedIn? If so, please endorse me for science writing skills. I’m going to graduate soon and am looking for a job.

I’m on LinkedIn. Aside from your writing here do you have any samples of your writing ( so my endorsement isn’t total BS) and a way to find you on LinkedIn?

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