Do Organic Kitties Dream of Radioactive Sheep?

Someday — soon, I hope — I’ll get back to writing some meatier stuff.  Today ain’t that day.

So, just for now, let me share with you a cautionary tale, broadcast on NPR:

In February, a 55-gallon drum of radioactive waste burst open inside America’s only nuclear dump, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

Now investigators believe the cause may have been a pet store purchase gone bad.

“It was the wrong kitty litter,” says James Conca, a geochemist in Richland, Wash., who has spent decades in the nuclear waste business.

Wait! Pet litter? Isotopes? Kitten Strangelove?

The_Monkey_and_the_Cat_by_Abraham_Hondius

Well, kind of:

Cat litter has been used for years to dispose of nuclear waste. Dump it into a drum of sludge and it will stabilize volatile radioactive chemicals. The litter prevents it from reacting with the environment.

Excellent! It is both a dessert topping and a floor polish.  But what went wrong?

Why, the decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts.  Did you know you can get organic kitty litter?  Why yes, you can…and the radioactive waste folks chose to do so:

“Now that might sound nice, you’re trying to be green and all that, but the organic kitty litters are organic,” says Conca. Organic litter is made of plant material, which is full of chemical compounds that can react with the nuclear waste.

“They actually are just fuel, and so they’re the wrong thing to add,” he says. Investigators now believe the litter and waste caused the drum to slowly heat up “sort of like a slow burn charcoal briquette instead of an actual bomb.”

After it cooked a while, the barrel couldn’t take it any more…

But don’t blame  Alice Waters or the slow food movement.  Ultimate responsibility for the safe disposal of radioactive waste falls to the Department of Energy.

Oh — and one more thing. There are over 500 barrels that were likely packed with the wrong stuff.  Precautions are being taken, but dang….

PS:  Organic carrots I get. Organic kitty litter?  This is a thing?  People actually pay money so that Fluffy can poop green?  #yesImanold #grumpytoo

Image:  Abraham Hondius, The Monkey and the Cat, 1670.

 

91 replies
  1. 1
    gussie says:

    I find it very reassuring that they buy actual supermarket kitty litter for this.

  2. 2
    allium says:

    So that’s what inspired the deleted monkey-cat scene from Cronenberg’s The Fly.

  3. 3
    BGinCHI says:

    “We have no idea how this could have happened,” remarked Supervisor of Things That Blow Up Homer Simpson. A long-time employee in the nuclear power industry, Mr. Simpson then farted and ate an entire box of donuts.

  4. 4
    Keith P says:

    Organic kitty litter

    Since it’s not food, I’m assuming it’s not “certified organic” and would thus include regular corn- and cedar-based litters (carbon-based organic rather than no-pesticides-organic). And there’s the recycled newspaper pellets as well.

  5. 5
    dmsilev says:

    And soon, Catzilla will rise up, search for a nice sunny spot, and lie back down again.

  6. 6

    That’s hilarious.

    OT: my startup got funding my startup got funding

  7. 7
    Suffern ACE says:

    i think the “organic” kitty litter plays on the idea that kitty litter may be bad for us to consume, so why throw it in a landfill. It’s not the kitty’s feet that are the issue. Its a waste disposal issue.

  8. 8
    Roger Moore says:

    I have a friend whose cat has pica and will occasionally eat some litter. She gets the kitty the organic litter because she’d rather the cat eat that than the mineral-based kind.

  9. 9
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Suffern ACE: Ugh. I shouldn’t type while on a conference call. Not bad for us to consume – but bad for the environment.

  10. 10
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Clay litter is bad for the environment and for cats respiratory systems. So “organic” probably isn’t organic but refers to safer alternatives, like corn (what I use for mine), recycled newspaper, pine, wheat, etc. Best part – not smelly and clumps great.

  11. 11

    “Organic Cat Litter Chief Suspect In Nuclear Waste Accident” is possibly the most 21st-century headline I’ve ever seen by the way.

  12. 12
    Tom Levenson says:

    @TaMara (BHF): Damn. With more knowledge comes more responsibility. Perhaps Tikka will soon start pooping on corn. (I currently get the refillable stuff from Petco.)

    I hate it when my reflexive grump is not a good guide to daily life.

  13. 13
    🌷 Martin says:

    Organic means that it’s flushable. It’ll break down in the treatment system. Inorganic is clay and has to go in the trash.

    Blame the food people for perverting the term ‘organic’ to mean something it doesn’t mean. Blame the rest of you for forgetting high school chemistry.

  14. 14
    BGinCHI says:

    Grandpa Walnuts: People who quote what I said are lying about what I said.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/l.....flop-lying

    Is it too late to give him back to the VC?

  15. 15
    mdblanche says:

    @BGinCHI: “Nuclear physicists from Tacoma to Vladivostok have just reported an ionic disturbance in the vicinity of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Scientists are recommending that all necessary precautions be taken.”

    “Eggheads… What do they know?”

  16. 16
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Tom Levenson: Hey, I’m up for any chance to tell people about the evils of clay litter, it’s still the best selling kind.

    But clumping corn litter has been a miracle with 4 cats – absolutely no smell, no dust, clumps great and I add an additional inch a week to each box, so cheap as hell, too.

  17. 17
    Keith P says:

    @TaMara (BHF): My cat abruptly stopped using his corn/cedar litterbox a few weeks ago (maybe I took too long to clean it?). He used a disposable clay one a few days back, so I’m playing around with different litters now to see what specifically he’s got a problem with. Would be a shame to go back to clay litter, though; that stuff is HEAVY.

  18. 18
    srv says:

    Late one night a couple decades back, I flew into IAH and the connector for Ellington had left. So they put me and another guy in a cab and sent us on our way.

    He was a nuclear waste cleanup guru. Wouldn’t say who he worked for, but was just contracted out for whatever latest clusterfuck there’d been.

    He couldn’t talk about where he was coming back from. But for an hour he told me stories. I asked if he tought nuclear energy could ever be safe. He said:

    “You cannot imagine the human capacity to fuck things up until you’ve seen people fuck up with radioactive material”

  19. 19
    Roger Moore says:

    @BGinCHI:
    It’s closer to “I said I probably would, not I definitely would, so you can’t hold me to it.”

  20. 20
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Keith P: You can try mixing 1/2 clay and 1/2 alternative and see if you can’t get him back to the good stuff.

    I have a friend whose cats refuse to use anything but the horrible, non-clumping clay litter. Because, well, they’re cats, that’s why.

  21. 21
    raven says:

    @BGinCHI: NVA

  22. 22
    EWG Gestalt says:

    In a past life, I used to be affiliated with this project. We had to consider a LOT of different “worst-case scenarios”—earthquakes, meteorites, armed invaders—but I’m pretty sure organic kitty litter was NOT on that list.

  23. 23
    mdblanche says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Is it too late to give him back to the VC?

    Are you implying that McCain used to be a POW? Because if you are, I never knew that about him.

  24. 24
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @srv: My very first “real” job while in college was working for a lawyer who was putting together the lawsuit against Peter Hewit company for the shoddy work they did on the nuclear power plant in NE. Scared the shit out of me.

  25. 25
    srv says:

    “sort of like a slow burn charcoal briquette instead of an actual bomb.”

    Could we call it a Dirty Bomb?

  26. 26
    Anne Laurie says:

    That’s nothing, Tom — did you know that people will pay a premium for plant fertilizer that’s “certified vegan“?

    Which I would not have noticed, except the new garden center — which leans heavily on its farmstand & grocery — had big apologetic notices posted around one stack of thirty-pound fertilizer bags, explaining that this was not the vegan fertilizer, but they would gladly exchange or refund any sacks of non-vegan fertilizer that had been purchased in error…

  27. 27
    NotMax says:

    Another example of the tyranny of government regulation. In a free market, companies wouldn’t be forced to bear the burden of keeping the stuff in inventory or denied the maximizing of profit from the legitimate fruits of their industry.

    /teanut

  28. 28
    The Dangerman says:

    Back in my Aero days, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, was bought to a MIL standard or similar; it kinda shocks me that the nuclear waste people ran down to Petco and bought whatever was on sale.

  29. 29
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    Yes, organic cat litter is a thing. It’s an old thing too. Does anyone else remember “Litter Green” from the 1970s? It was green pellets made from alfalfa. (Apparently it was a Clorox product.)

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    (Who doesn’t think mixing alfalfa and nuclear waste is a good idea.)

  30. 30
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Anne Laurie: I don’t even know how to reply to that.

  31. 31
    Roger Moore says:

    @srv:
    That sounds about right to me. Nuclear power could be safe, but not as long as the safety is ultimately in the hands of human beings. We’re just too short sighted to be able to deal with anything that has that kind of catastrophic potential outcome. As long as nothing goes wrong, we’ll keep cutting corners and undermining the safeguards that are supposed to prevent accidents. Then one day it will turn out we needed all those safeguards and it will be too late. This is always the story with very low probability, high consequence problems.

  32. 32
    catclub says:

    @TaMara (BHF): I am not sure how large a room I would have to reserve for a litter box with the lightweight litter. We have a cat who throws it out of the box, and the lighter it is the more he has to throw. It apparently needs the right ‘paw feel’.

  33. 33
    catclub says:

    @The Dangerman: I was thinking that. The recipe says ‘cat litter’ instead of ‘clay cat litter’. oy.

  34. 34
    BGinCHI says:

    @raven: Let’s just push him out of a C130 with a nice parachute and see who claims him.

  35. 35
    BGinCHI says:

    @mdblanche: I’d be careful quoting him about that. He’s really touchy.

  36. 36
    Roger Moore says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    That’s nothing, Tom — did you know that people will pay a premium for plant fertilizer that’s “certified vegan“?

    What’s surprising about that? There’s plenty of fertilizer out there that uses animal byproducts (either manure or bone meal) for some of its nutrients. Somebody who felt strongly about veganism might want to know they were getting something that didn’t include any animal products.

  37. 37
    raven says:

    @BGinCHI: Skip the chute.

  38. 38
    catclub says:

    @Major Major Major Major (formerly J.Ty):

    “Organic Cat Litter Chief Suspect In Nuclear Waste Accident” is possibly the most 21st-century headline I’ve ever seen by the way.

    Needs more manatee.

  39. 39
    BGinCHI says:

    @raven: I was thinking we’d call it his pension and call it even.

  40. 40
    raven says:

    @BGinCHI: Ah, gold.

  41. 41
    mdblanche says:

    Some day the grandchildren of the survivors of the fall of civilization will gather ’round the campfire and listen to the elders tell the story. “Climate change, nuclear winter, global pandemics, gray goo, The Meteor… We all knew we had to watch out for those things. But organic cat litter? We never saw it coming.”

    Is anyone else reminded of the time NASA lost a space probe because one of the contractors working on it neglected to use metric units?

  42. 42
    mdblanche says:

    Some day the grandchildren of the survivors of the fall of civilization will gather ’round the campfire and listen to the elders tell the story. “Climate change, nuclear winter, global pandemics, gray goo, The Meteor… We all knew we had to watch out for those things. But organic cat litter? We never saw it coming.”

    Is anyone else reminded of the time NASA lost a space probe because one of the contractors working on it neglected to use metric units?

  43. 43
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Roger Moore: Ok, I understand the bone meal. That would be bad if you’re a vegan. And I suppose manure wouldn’t work if the animal ate meat products. I was just thinking that a nice cow who eats grass and grain, what could be the objection?

  44. 44
  45. 45
    BGinCHI says:

    This is the only political blog in the world where the comments would still be focused on the finer elements of the kitty litter in a story about nuclear waste disposal.

  46. 46
    scav says:

    @Roger Moore: Wouldn’t such purists have to go full hydroponic and moreso? Soil, I think it’s generally contaminate with animal cooties.

  47. 47
    RSA says:

    This could be the start of a new line of Marvel Comics. What kind of superpowers would you acquire after having been exposed to radioactive kitty litter? Being able to absorb odors, clumping when wet… these aren’t too impressive, though.

  48. 48
    Svensker says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    That’s nothing, Tom — did you know that people will pay a premium for plant fertilizer that’s “certified vegan“?

    Just means it doesn’t have any animal poop or bye-products. Personally, I think it makes way more sense to recycle animal poop as fertilizer, which is what God intended, but vegans don’t agree.

    Also, anyone who has had a pile of “organic” plant waste hanging around KNOWS it gets hot and basically burns itself up. That’s the whole idea behind a compost pile. Perhaps nuclear waste engineers should get out in the garden more often.

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    I was just thinking that a nice cow who eats grass and grain, what could be the objection?

    Because the cow was being held in captivity and exploited.

    No, seriously, that would be the argument. Ironically, they’d be fine using a fertilizer with human shit in it since (presumably) the humans consented, even though it would be much more dangerous.

  50. 50
    seaboogie says:

    @Tom Levenson: Tom, I assume Tamara (BHF) is referring to something similar that I use sold under the name “World’s Best Cat Litter”, and it really is the best I’ve ever used. Great clumping, no dust, no smell, and you can put it in your compost if you want.

    Being a corn product, it is of course from Iowa. And because I’ve had 3 sips of wine with a late lunch, it occurs to me that this could be a concept behind reforming the IA political caucuses. Instead of electors moving around a room based on which candidate they support, we could just get a number of litter boxes equal to the number of candidates filled with various varieties of litter (assigned randomly through a draw), fill the room with cats, and see who the kitties piss on the most.

    Since cats unerringly always truly choose in their own interest, it would probably be a more reliable method than the one we currently use, and quite satisfying in a way.

  51. 51
    Svensker says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    I was just thinking that a nice cow who eats grass and grain, what could be the objection?

    Vegans don’t believe in using ANY animal products from farm animals. They don’t believe in farm animals unless they’re pets. The only manure they might use would be wild harvested. They won’t eat honey because it uses the bees’ labor without compensation.

    ETA: Mnemo beat me.

  52. 52
    Mandalay says:

    Any physicists here? I’m wondering whether this is a really BFD, or just junk science……

    Scientists in the Netherlands have moved a step closer to overriding one of Albert Einstein’s most famous objections to the implications of quantum mechanics, which he described as “spooky action at a distance.”

    In a paper published on Thursday in the journal Science, physicists at the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at the Delft University of Technology reported that they were able to reliably teleport information between two quantum bits separated by three meters, or about 10 feet.

  53. 53
    BGinCHI says:

    @Mandalay: Isn’t this one of the basics of “quantum computing”?

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    Knowing monkeys and how they tend to spend their days in captivity, I’m a little worried about what he’s doing to that poor cat.

    Just sayin’.

  55. 55
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @raven: Yes, NVA. The VC were in the South, and they weren’t all communists, contrary to US propaganda at the time. Even if they were, they were communists because only the communists would support their movement for their own freedom. WE were busy supporting authoritarian assholes that engaged in blatant religious persecution of the non-Catholic.

  56. 56
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @BGinCHI: Nuclear waste we can’t fix, explosive cat poop, we can.

  57. 57
    JPL says:

    Somehow this will be Michelle Obama’s fault because she promotes healthy lifestyles.

  58. 58
    burnspbesq says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Is it too late to give him back to the VC?

    Is there any reason to believe that the VC would take him?

  59. 59
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Svensker: I would support paying bees a fair wage, but most beekeepers are… stingy.

  60. 60
    Eric U. says:

    I thought kitty litter was some kind of expanded clay. Last time I used some, it was to clean up a plumbing leak, but I left it in the crawl space. I hope I didn’t use organic kitty litter. Don’t think so.

  61. 61
    BGinCHI says:

    @burnspbesq: Good point. No way his wife would pay a ransom.

  62. 62
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Mandalay:

    Jun 05 – 5:34 pm
    Any physicists here? I’m wondering whether this is a really BFD, or just junk science

    Almost certainly neither. Quantum teleportation has been done before. Entanglement is weird shit, like everything else in quantum physics, but strictly speaking it doesn’t transmit information. It seems to transmit *something*, but like all quantum effects, you don’t know what it will transmit until you do it. If you and I have an entangled pair, and I do an experiment to determine the spin of mine, I know immediately what the spin of yours is. But there’s no way for *you* to know, until I tell you which experiment to run.

    Or something. Weird shit, I tell you.

  63. 63
    tones says:

    Conserva[tard]:
    “Why do we spend an extra 17 cents for”organic” kitty litter when we can jest git the cheap one down at the store -stupid gubmint regulations”

    Oh, there was a reason we spent the extra money that I never would have imagined…

  64. 64
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    May I present a week’s worth of internets?

    No, no, please don’t be modest — you earned them.

  65. 65
    shelley says:

    Kitty litter, is there anything it can’t do? Icy sidewalks, nuclear waste…it’s a miracle product.

  66. 66

    James Rosen just dropped the latest #Bergdahl outrage over at Fox: secret documents relaying stories that he converted to Islam and declared jihad. Who let the rightwing into the peyote?

  67. 67
    The Sailor says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I stole that.

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Bergdahl agreed to convert at some point — it’s a common ploy to prevent your Islamic kidnappers from killing you, since it’s forbidden to murder a fellow Muslim. (Terrorists get around it the same way Christianists do — by claiming that people who aren’t in their exact sect aren’t “real” Muslims.) IIRC, the female journalist who was kidnapped and released a few years ago did the same thing to save herself.

    ETA: Though I’m sure that if he did, his kidnappers got that shit on tape, so put up or shut up, Foxbots.

  69. 69
    Francis says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Now, that left a mark (actually, more of a small red welt).

  70. 70
    chopper says:

    another story to add to the long txt file named “responses to arguments that nuclear power will save us”

  71. 71
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Francis: @The Sailor: @SiubhanDuinne: woohoo!

  72. 72
    chopper says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    jesus h christ. this poor shmuck was stuck in a hole for 5 years and this is his homecoming.

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @scav:

    Wouldn’t such purists have to go full hydroponic and moreso? Soil, I think it’s generally contaminate with animal cooties.

    I think the kind of vegan who doesn’t want to use cow shit as a fertilizer is sufficiently out of touch with the reality the rest of us experience that they may well not know those kinds of details.

  74. 74
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Svensker:

    They won’t eat honey because it uses the bees’ labor without compensation.

    It currently takes some medical care (so to speak) to keep hives alive, I’m told. (Here’s a drug list). One the other hand the bees aren’t exactly consciously engaging in a trade of honey for medical care. (And on the third hand, bees aren’t exactly slaves; a large part of a hive sometimes ups and leaves to follow a new queen, a big loose scary flying ball of bees.)
    Do vegans argue about things like this or was the law all worked out a while ago and people just follow it? (The wikipedia article says that there is dispute about honey.)

  75. 75
    Comrade Mary says:

    Oh, man. This brings to mind this section from one of the world’s best ever podcasts, 99% Invisible.

    From the episode Ten Thousand Years (all content available to read via the link, but the whole podcast and bonus music are also available):

    The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is the nation’s only permanent underground repository for nuclear waste. Radioactive byproducts from nuclear weapons manufacturing and nuclear power plants. WIPP was designed not only to handle a waste stream of various forms of nuclear sludge, but also more mundane things that interacted with radioactive materials, such as tools and gloves. …

    Storing something safely forever is a huge design problem; in fact, the jury’s still out on whether WIPP has solved the basics of the storage problem at all. In February of 2014, a leak [yes, the one in Tom’s post!] was detected at WIPP which exposed several workers to radiation and WIPP has been closed since. The Department of Energy now predicts that it could be up to three years before WIPP is fully operational again.

    We know these facts because we can look them up and read the news in a shared language. The problem that the aforementioned panel was convened to address was how to communicate this information to people 10,000 years in the future. …

    [Much fascinating detail on communication issues snipped — go read/listen!]

    The most hands-down 99pi favorite solution, though, didn’t come from the WIPP brainstorm—rather, it came out of the Human Interference Task Force, a similar panel that was pulled together in 1981 for the now-defunct Yucca Mountain project. It was proposed by two philosophers, Françoise Bastide and Paolo Fabbri.

    Bastide and Fabbri came to the conclusion that the most durable thing that humanity has ever made is culture: religion, folklore, belief systems. They may morph over time, but an essential message can get pulled through over millennia. They proposed that we genetically engineer a species of cat that changes color in the presence of radiation, which would be released into the wild to serve as living Geiger counters. Then, we would create folklore and write songs and tell stories about these “ray cats,” the moral being that when you see these cats change colors, run far, far away.

    Go and listen to the song. It will vanquish all other earworms!

  76. 76
    ruviana says:

    @srv: “You cannot imagine the human capacity to fuck things up until you’ve seen people fuck up with radioactive material”

    Can’t this be a rotating tag line? Please, please?

  77. 77
    Sondra says:

    @gussie:
    Oh no, not in the supermarket. At stores like PetSmart they have lots of “organic” kitty litter. It’s made mostly of corn. You know, that stuff that 3rd world countries would grow if they could so people could, you know, eat: but they don’t because they can buy it from us. Or they could if we would sell it as food instead of as kitty litter.

    One brand is called “The World’s Best” and a large bag costs $90.99.
    It says it’s all natural and I’m betting they didn’t use that particular brand to set off the radioactive waste material.

    Or maybe they did. I remember the army used to spend $300. on a hammer or some such thing.

  78. 78
    Sondra says:

    @ruviana:
    Maybe it could replace “going postal”. It could be “going radioactive waste” as in don’t go all radioactive waste on us.
    Or it could be Levenson’s Law. Like Godwin’s Law only radioactive waste.

  79. 79
    rikyrah says:

    With no legislative approval, McAuliffe has begun planning for Medicaid expansion
    By Laura Vozzella, Published: June 4 E-mail the writer

    RICHMOND — Gov. Terry McAuliffe is quietly planning the nuts and bolts of enrolling an additional 400,000 Virginians in Medicaid even as the House of Delegates seems as firmly opposed as ever to expanding the health-care program for the poor.

    The administration is considering how it would handle the flood of applications that are expected to pour in if expansion comes to pass. Privately run call centers could be an option

    The planning comes on top of research McAuliffe’s office has conducted into whether he has the power to expand Medicaid by executive order if he cannot get the GOP-dominated House to budge. And it comes to light as McAuliffe is claiming broad authority to keep most, if not all, of the state government running if the standoff prevents passage of a budget before July 1, the start of the fiscal year.

    McAuliffe (D), who ran for office as a bipartisan dealmaker, continues to say publicly that he wants to find a legislative solution to the Medicaid standoff. But with the start of the new fiscal year less than a month away, the governor appears to be mulling over the extraordinary use of executive power, both to keep the lights on in state government and to muscle Medicaid expansion past the legislature.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

  80. 80
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Sondra: Wow, where do you shop? I pay $5 for mine and it lasts a month. BTW, it’s made from corn by products (husks, cobs and stuff).

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    @chopper:

    Hey, if I’m given a choice of converting to Islam or getting my head sawed off, I’m yelling “lā ʾilāha ʾil ʾāllāh, muḥammadun rasūlu-llāh!” (“There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God”) until my voice gives out. Wouldn’t you?

  82. 82
    Rob_in_Hawaii says:

    Here’s the deal with “regular” kitty litter vs. “organic.”

    “Regular” means it’s made from clay. That’s “mineral” in the old animal, vegetable, or mineral breakdown of the universe.

    “Organic” simply means that it is made from plants. From the “vegetable” kingdom. Sawdust is an “organic” kitty liter. So,”organic” here does not mean it’s some kind of “natural” kitty litter sold at Whole Foods for pampered pets .

    The difference is that clay-based kitty litter is inert, i.e, it won’t interact with what it’s absorbing.

    “Organic” kitty litter, on the other hand, can react in all kinds of bad ways with what it’s absorbing. E.g., things go BOOM!

    This is very basic stuff. Never use organic materials as absorbents. This is stuff I learned 30 years ago as a truck driver getting my hazmat clearance. If this is how they handle the simple stuff, we’re all doomed.

  83. 83
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @TaMara (BHF): Dead thread, but that reminds me that I used to be able to buy a great weed inhibitor that was made from the leftover grains from beer making. It worked wonders. Smelled pretty good, too, if you liked beer.

  84. 84
    Jay S says:

    The vegan objection to honey that I’ve heard is that some bees are killed in the process extracting money from the comb.

  85. 85
    Jay S says:

    Duplicate comment
    .

  86. 86
    Chyron HR says:

    @rikyrah:

    Goddamn DLC Clintonite scum. I wish Kookinelli had won so he could heighten the differences, thereby bringing about a progressive utopia in VA.

  87. 87
    J R in WV says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Perhaps he could be ambassador to the People’s Republic of Vietnam?

    Schweet!

  88. 88
    J R in WV says:

    @Svensker:

    Actually, bee keepers do a lot to aid their hives, including mite prevention using herbal oils, providing sugar in harsh winters, etc.

    But since the bees are slaves, vegans still won’t budge! They stick to cane syrups and such, paying no mind to the poor slave cane plants getting crushed to suck their blood!

    And the broccoli, o my god! The things they do to the poor captive broccoli !i!

  89. 89
    Svensker says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Do vegans argue about things like this or was the law all worked out a while ago and people just follow it? (The wikipedia article says that there is dispute about honey.)

    I was doing a fundrasier to buy bee hives for poor farmers and the uber-granola vegan parents that I asked for support at my son’s school got furious with me for oppressing the bees. They don’t eat honey.

  90. 90
    Francis says:

    @Rob_in_Hawaii: So, basically, carbon versus silicon if I go by the Periodic Table of Elements.

  91. 91
    A in Ca says:

    I can easily imagine how this happened.
    You want your somewhat radioactive liquid to safely stay in place,
    so you can not keep it in liquid form in a drum which may sometimes break or corrode away. So you must find some stuff, which absorbs it, and keeps it in; clay pellets come to mind.
    So you write specs for absorbent clay, in small pellets, and get some offer from a known chemical manufacturer, to make clay pellets especially for this application, and they are $1233.73 per pound. Then, one of your employees has a cat, and tells you that clay cat litter can be had much much cheaper, even at retail prices. He/She brings in a bag, you have it tested, chemically analyzed, works fine,exactly what is needed, and so much cheaper. Hence you now buy Brand Name X cat litter, a ton at a time, and are scared that some congressional committee or stupid journalist denounces you for frivolous purchases for your employee’s cats. But you are secure in the knowledge, that, if found out, you can say that you saved the tax payers tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars by this (This is of course, a delusion, well-known TV programs will continue to broadcast inquiries into ‘evil government scientists pay for cat litter with taxpayer money’ no matter what)
    Anyway, your requisition now reads ‘deliver xxx bags of cat litter of Brand X type Y every twoo weeks’ to some address. It is executed by some hard-thinking buyer, who has a cat, and thinks, my this cat shelter is still using clay litter, isn’t it bad for the cats? So (s)he substitutes Brand X Type O (as in Organic) in the requisition Or the warehouse guy at cat litter factory has only Type O on hand, and thinks customer will love him for substituting a better (healthier, normally higher-priced) type of cat litter, at the same price.
    So the Brand X type O cat litter is delivered, checked off that it is indeed Brand X, no cheap substitute, and finally, put into a drum, radioactive liquid is added, drum sealed closed….
    and a few year later, we find out what is reported in the post here.

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