(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Freon

“The car has become an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad, and incomplete in the urban compound”*…

 

Langdon Clay spent two years in the 1970s roaming the streets of the Big Apple at night, photographing parked and abandoned cars.  See more of the results at “Eerie portraits of cars in 1970s New York.”

* Marshall McLuhan

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As we slip behind the wheel, we might recall that it was on this date in 1921 that Thomas Midgley Jr., then a young engineer at General Motors, discovered that, when added to gasoline, a compound called tetraethyl lead (TEL) eliminated the unpleasant noises (known as “knock” or “pinging”) that internal-combustion engines made when they ran.  Midgley could scarcely have imagined the consequences of his discovery: for more than five decades, oil companies saturated the gasoline they sold with lead– a deadly poison.

(Resonantly, 13 years later Midgley led the team that developed chlorofluorocarbons [CFCs]– specifically, Freon– for use in refrigeration [and ultimately, air conditioning and aerosols].  Like the lead additive, CFCs were celebrated in their time…  but later banned for their contributions to climate change.)

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

December 9, 2016 at 1:01 am

“Summer will end soon enough”*…

 

As temperatures across the globe continue to rise, one might look to areas accustomed to extreme heat for tips on how to cope…

More helpful hints at “Genius/bizarre/insane methods of beating the summer sun- Vietnam style.”

[Vietnamnet.vn, via Dangerous Minds]

* George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

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As we search for shade, we might recall that it was on his date in 1934 that Thomas Midgley and a team of scientists working for Charles Kettering at GM’s Dayton Research subsidiary filed for a set of patents covering the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)– specifically, Freon– in refrigeration (and ultimately, air conditioning and aerosols).  Midgley had earlier developed the tetraethyllead (TEL) additive to gasoline– that is, leaded gas– an effort from which he contracted lead poisoning.

While both of these inventions have been effectively banned for their contributions to climate change, they were celebrated in their time.  Indeed, in 1941 Midgley was awarded the Priestley Medal (the American Chemical Society’s highest honor).

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 31, 2015 at 1:01 am

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