by syaffolee

Plastic and Animal Activists

One of my housemates has declared war on plastic. Actually, it’s not really a war–more like a boycott. She lectured me and the rest of my housemates about the danger of most plastics and that bacteria can grow on them even if you wash it several times. She’s thrown out everything plastic except the ones that say “5”. She says those are safe. Of course, she has read all about this in a magazine article that she can’t even cite.

Yawn city. I think she forgot that I work in the microbiology department. I’ve been to a multitude of seminars where bacterial growth on surfaces, particularly plastics, has been pointed out and accompanied by gross-out medical pictures. (There also has been talk about adding antibiotics to plastic, especially plastic implants, but at the moment, that’s going nowhere considering bacteria can become antibiotic resistant and grow on the implants anyway.)

But what I didn’t know about was the plastic numbering system. If you look for the recycling sign on a piece of plastic, you will find a number in the middle of that sign. It ranges from 1 to 7. The numbers themselves designate what kind of plastic was used. A quick and easy cheat sheet to what the numbers stand for can be located at I’ve also found another article concerning the safety of plastic water bottles. Apparently #1 plastic is the safest while #3 may be the most dangerous.

And what about plastic #7? #7 is “other” plastic and is used to make those ubiquitous Nalgene bottles carried by college students, hikers, and ridiculously self-conscious yuppies. (I don’t own any Nalgene bottles, besides, why should I buy something that would make me look like every other drone?) The previous article mentioned research from a Current Biology paper that showed that toxins leached from compounds commonly found in #7 plastic were hormone disruptors.

And then there are those crazed animal activists who want to boycott Nalgene because it is the same company (you’ve heard of Nunc, right?) that makes research supplies–some of it used in animal testing. Personally, I don’t know any “money grubbing vivisectionists” but I bet these animal activists would feel differently if you told them that an animal model must be used to develop a cure for a disease they might have. After all, in vitro testing only goes so far.

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Completely Unrelated:

CN Tower Timelapsed. I like watching the moon move across the sky. This site also has some other cool stuff too.

Slaves found on Brazilian ranch. “Officials said they discovered 32 slave-workers on the ranch of right-wing Senator Joao Ribeiro in the northern state of Para. They said the captives worked seven days a week without pay and had no running water or toilets.”

Big bang busted in science class for high schools. I know everyone has been reading about the hoopla on the proposal to ban the word “evolution” in the Georgia science curriculum, but apparently there has also been other insidious proposals. Sometimes I wonder if creationists just want to ban science altogether and what would the world be like if they succeeded. It’s enough to make one cry.

Sidewalk-chalk drawings. They look so 3-D. Amazing.

Kylie Minogue music video “Come Into My World”. It’s a relatively old music video (2002), but what I find interesting about it is the repetitive filming technique. And is it just me, or does all the music by Kylie Minogue sound like they’re from the 70’s?

Star Atlases. Here’s a digitized collection of more old books, particularly those by Bayer, Flamsteed, and Reissig. There’s also an online exhibit on The Face of the Moon.

Fantasy Planes. Pictures of planes that look interesting and even beautiful, but never made it big due to various reasons.