Date: Sun, 31 Jan 2010 05:32:43 +0000
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Subject: Re: Creative Idea 2
I believe it was Louden Wainright III who san Dead Skunk in th middle of the road!
For a mechanical solution, a car driving on a new highway, very small bumps are noticeable and distinguishable, when on a rough back road, a single bump cannot be distinguished from the others.
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From: Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**MSN.COM>
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 2010 17:46:39 -0700
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Creative Idea 2
When did we get back to the old John Denver song, about the "Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road, Stinkin' to High Heaven?"
If I remember correctly, it was a very bad guitar lick in G Major (done it in D major as well) and the song (music and lyrics) stinks just about as bad as the skunk. Played guitars all over the world and still own 3.
There ain't nobody who doesn't have anosmia (the inability to smell) who can miss a dead skunk, and even if you have, when that particular sulfur-containing miasma comes in, it'll still make your eyes smart and your sinuses contract. However, while I've know some dogs and people (myself included) to be quite unhappy about a skunk contact, I've never yet seen one to die of it. Unless, of course you were trying unsuccessfully to drag it out of the highway and got run over by a truck. Missed that one.
If this is about how little does it take, consider the old one about how sensitive a dog's nose is to a drop of ammonia or chlorine in 100,000 gallons of water. If I remember right, this is still true. And you and I would generally consider this was just a way to render the water potable or fit to swim in (perhaps not even enough if it were chlorine or a chlorine-active compound? - just don't add certain other reactive chemicals such as bleach).
Are we just back to the "if it smells bad it must be toxic?" issue (often untrue) (let your mother cook cabbage when you're downstairs playing with your chemistry set in the old days when nearly everything had some sulfur it it; guess which one smelled worse?) I'd bet on the cabbage.
What I missed was where this was going and why you needed it. We all know that "odor thresholds" are just plain garbage for determining airborne "safe" chemical levels. Consider all the H2S issues. The smell goes away because of olfactory fatigue, you stay in exposure because if you can't smell it anymore, so it must be gone (around 250 ppm), and die of delayed onset pulmonary edema. There are things that stink to high heaven (such as mercaptans added to propane or LPG/natural gas) that are not toxic in themselves at the added concentrations but that will drive nearly anybody outdoors to seek safety in fresh air because of the overwhelming stench). Where the stench is not the problem, but the potential flammable/asphyxiant issues ARE. Meaning, its a good thing to get out of flammable gas exposures, if only driven out because of a relatively non-toxic stench.
How many ppm are there in a haystack, and how many ppm does the average needle have? Measure an average needle against an average length of hay (A/B) (use calipers and a measuring tape). You could actually do this in a courtroom. Estimate how many such average lengths of hay there are in a haystack (C) (pull out say 100 samples and just use a tape measure) and then do a mass/ratio calculation based on the 3 dimensions of the haystack which could easily be determined with a surveyors tape measure and a stepladder (D). Determine a ratio of A/B, and divide by C/D: the result is left as an exercise for the student. I'd suggest it would be in the ppb range if not the ppt range.
Or to suggest an old movie with a bad plot about Cheyenne Mountain: "Wouldn't you rather play a nice game of chess?"
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 2010 15:29:49 -0500
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Creative Idea 2
You could expand on your own analogy - dead stinking skunk in the middle of a lush park vs in the middle of a garbage dump on a hot summer day. Not mechanical, but ...
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List on behalf of Neal Langerman
Sent: Fri 1/29/2010 10:39 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Creative Idea 2
Lots of great suggestions related to sound noise - pin drop in a quiet v
noisy room or weeds in grass (needle in a haystack
How about something mechanical? I am trying to come up with a mechanical
device w/ sensitivity control that everyone will recognize -
I want this as common as smelling a dead skunk in the middle of the road,
stickin' to high heaven!
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