Scientists killed by their own experiments

Who knew research could be so treacherous?

Pierre and Marie Curie

When we think of scientists and researchers, a passion for discovery, not a penchant for daredevil antics, is usually what comes to mind. Yet many a researcher has faced injury, illness and even death in the name of scientific breakthroughs. After all, when dissecting the mysteries of plague and plutonium, it doesn’t take much for things to go terribly wrong.
Whether through naiveté or simple slip-ups, these scientists all met their death because of the experiments they were conducting.
1. Carl Scheele  (1742-1786)
The genius pharmaceutical chemist discovered many new elements, most famously oxygen (even if Joseph Priestley did publish his findings first and get all the glory), as well as molybdenum, tungsten, manganese and chlorine. But these were the days before OSHA and the knowledge of just how toxic chemical concoctions could be. Scheele had the bad habit of using all of his senses in his work, including smell and taste. Egad. He managed to survive his taste-test of hydrogen cyanide, but cumulative exposure to mercury, lead, fluoric acid, and other nasty toxins finally did him in, leading to his demise thanks to heavy metal toxicity at the age of 44.

This Is the Exact Date When Our Computer World Ends

The world didn’t end last Friday just like the world didn’t end in the year 2000, with failing computers deleting bank accounts and crashing airplanes. That doesn’t mean the world isn’t going to end. It will. And if we keep our current operating systems, this is the exact date when all goes poof: 15:30:08 UTC on December 4th of the Year of Our Lord 292,277,026,596.

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True story behind X-mas

X  in X-mas isn’t an X at all but rather it’s the Greek letter “Chi” (X) which has the sound of our letter K. It also just happens to be the first letter in the Greek word for “Christ.”  So the X is an initial, an abbreviation, for Christ and not an X-ing out at all. In fact, using the chi symbol to stand for Christ has a very long history. It goes back at least to the time of Constantine, the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire. Upon his conversion to Christianity, he began using the symbols of both X (chi) and P (rho), the first two letters in the word “Christ,” to stand for his new faith. In the Catholic Church, the priest’s robe is decorated with the XP symbol at Christmas. Many Protestant churches have traditionally used the symbol as well, sometimes on their altar cloth or on the mantle of the pastor’s robe. So letting an X stand for Christ has been going on for a very long time–way before the 1950’s.


An early Roman coin showing the emperor on one side and on the other side the Greek letter X(chi) layered over the letter P(rho) on the back of the coin.

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Chart: Gun related murder rate in different countries worldwide

The Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that killed 27, including 20 children, is already generating the same conversation that every mass shooting in America generates: Why are there so many shootings?

The above chart measures data for the nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which includes all Western countries plus Turkey, Israel, Chile, Japan, and South Korea. I did not include Mexico, which has about triple the U.S. rate due in large part to the ongoing drug war.

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