The Platypus Society
Clair Patterson: An Actual American Hero
Let me tell you a story about one of the most important men of whom you’ve (likely) never heard.
Once upon a time (the late 40’s) there was a man from Iowa who had a girl’s name & actaully cared about the world. His name was Clair Cameron Patterson. As a geologist at the University of Chicago Clair was trying to determine the age of the Earth by figuring out the age of lead in meteorites. This was an ingenious method and he actually did determine (in 1953) that the Earth is approximately 4,550 million years old, +/- 70 million years. But that is not Clair’s true legacy. (because, you know, being the first guy to figure out how old our planet is just isn’t that big a deal)
For the longest time Patterson was finding that any of his samples that had been exposed to air were tremendously tainted with Atmospheric Lead. Being of an inquisitive disposition, upon determining the age of our planet he immediately turned to the Lead Problem. Where the FUCK was all this lead coming from he asked himself. Well it was coming from the leaded gasoline in our cars. And Clair proved it by analyzing the lead content of Old Ice From Greenland. Since the introduction of leaded gasoline in 1923, when our air was virtually lead free, cars had pumped huge quantities of lead into the atmosphere. The big problem? Lead don’t go away and lead be bad fer yer brains.
But lead was Big Business. When Dr. Patterson began speaking out about the dangers of Atmospheric Lead the Lead People got him fired from his job, got his funding taken away, and even got him barred from a panel investigating lead in the air.
Still, Clair Patterson prevailed. After some 30 years of fighting he got lead banned from gasoline in 1986. Bam, lead levels in the blood of Americans dropped by 80%. Even so, today we have 625 times more lead in our blood than did people before leaded gasoline. And lead still gets pumped into our air through various industrial projects. The world is still waiting for the next Clair Patterson to clean it up.
Clair Patterson June 2, 1922 – December 5, 1995
Narwhal (mondon monoceros)
The BBC has rare footage of these tusked whales. My favorite thing about narwhals is that they sword fight with their tusks. Why? Because they have fucking horns and they are whales and they know that that makes them fucking awesome.
The Platypus is the most bad-ass awesome animal. A semi-aquatic mammal, duck-billed and beaver-tailed with the feet of an otter, the male has enough venom in a spur on one of his back feet to bring down a full sized human or kill a small animal. They lay eggs. They can sense the electrical field generated by your muscles moving. Though there is no agreed upon plural form of “platypus” I assert that the Greek plural form, “platypodes” is clearly the most awesome. This is my mission statement. This is the home of the platypus and other equally fascinating things.