© Bill Lemmond (Actually, you're welcome to download and share these web-resolution images, and you probably won't be happy with printing them.)

Pizza from Scratch presents Dismal Science Swamp 'toon 189

23 March, 2009

Uncle Lux tells his nephew, Peter, that there are accidents that happen to people who aren't at all at fault.

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The Rolled-Up Newspaper of Justice really can pause time that finely. Peter and company (the name of another comic that I think is very well done) can travel the world, taking notes on trouble, and deal with the most time-sensitive troubles first.

Chinese miners have little choice, so they put up with unsafe conditions. China doesn't have government safety agencies with any strength, or lawyers to sue shoddy mine operators.

Louis "Loose Wheel" Wiel makes technology work too well, and generally with weird or goofy side effects. He's actually a white cat whose fur is always grunged up with grease and oil.

I read in the Wall Street Journal that coal-fired plants around the world put about 3,000 tons of mercury vapor into the atmosphere, every year. Mercury falls out of the sky in rain, gets in water where it's absorbed by plants and "filter feeder" animals (such as oysters), which are then consumed by sea animals and gradually concentrated by the food chain. I'm guessing it's how mercury gets in tuna. It's really, REALLY bad to eat.

At least once in my childhood, someone in my family accidentally broke a mercury-and-glass oral thermometer. Mom carefully searched the floor for little, shiny drops of mercury, and scooped them up with a sheet of paper, into a tightly sealed glass jar. Then under close supervision, we were allowed to shake the jar a little, to scatter the mercury inside into separate droplets. We would tilt the jar, gradually, to make the droplets roll together and join.