The Bulb of Damocles

Andrea Harris finds another instance of color blindness, subset green:

[D]oes anyone but me think it’s odd that mercury batteries, commonly used in cameras for years, were banned a while ago to great fanfare (thus forcing most people [to] ditch their cameras), only for the People That Care to turn around and declare that the world was in Danger™ once more and this time the only thing that could save it was switching from regular incandescent light bulbs (which produce little to no pollutants) to light bulbs that contained… mercury? (Added note: yes, I know that they now make replacements for the mercury batteries that are supposed to work just as well; I bought three of them. Still, I think it’s hilarious that mercury is bad in a tiny metal battery that stays inside a camera made of metal and heavy plastic, but okay in a fragile glass container that hangs above your head.)

The advantage of the old mercury battery, which generally had mercuric oxide (HgO) as the cathode, was considerable: 1.35 volts, more or less constantly, right up until the moment it died, which generally took several years. Try that with any of your overadvertised alkalines.





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