The combination of Michael Crichton’s recent publicity and Dean’s Nature of Science blog has me thinking about environmentalism.
Few leftist utterings irritate me more than the environmental nonsense that I’ve heard since about 1990. It all started with my knowledge of freon, particularly R-12 and R-114. I spent 10 years in the submarine force. Freon is a very dangerous gas on submarines because of its weight and its tendancy to turn into phosgene gas upon heating.
CFCs, including everything collectively known as Freon, weigh between 4 and 8 times the weight of atomosphere. They do not rise, ever. On a submarine, with it’s enclosed environment, a small freon leak will displace oxygen in lower level bilges. A sailor working in these spaces may quickly suffocate, or, should he light a cigarette, produce phosgene gas that absorbs even through skin–it’s why the Nazis used it in death camps.
Ponder that weight: 4 to 8 times heavier than atmosphere. In the Navy, we used powerful Red Devil blowers to suck freon out of void spaces. We could only use this technique when we were in port, because the freon had to discharge overboard, else we would merely move it to a different bilge. We ran the blowers for hours–4-8–before workers were allowed to enter the spaces. That’s how heavy the stuff is.
Freon drops through air like rain drops. The only way to get freon into the ozone layer is to pack it into a plane, fly above the ozone layer, and release it, causing it to fall through the ozone layer. Since we don’t do that, the ban on R-12 stacks up as one of the most idiotic junk science spasms in Congress’s history.
UPDATE: Over lunch, I read the first 2.5 chapters of State of Fear . So far, this book would make a great Christmas gift for anyone. I’m wondering if any Hollywood producer would touch the movie rights with a 39 1⁄2 foot pole, though. Maybe Mel Gibson. It reads much like a Nelson DeMille novel. I’ll post a full review when I finish the book–possibly tonight.
UPDATE: Nelson DeMille’s latest work, Night Fall , is also in bookstores.