Chemically speaking: the Flint water crisis

Here’s an explanation of the Flint, Mich., lead scandal from a purely scientific standpoint (via Compound Interest):

Flint-Water-CrisisYou see, science is important. And if the governor of Michigan relied on scientists who didn’t see that this was happening, he either needs to fire them all, or admit that he was part of the conspiracy to kill poor people.

Of course, neither is going to happen. But that’s what happens when people believe it’s a good idea to elect rich businessmen as their leaders.

And how do we know that the governor of Michigan was a rich businessman?

In his first gubernatorial election in 2010, [Rick] Snyder campaigned as “pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, [and] pro-family,” with a focus on the economy.[12] His campaign emphasized his experience in growing business and creating jobs in the private sector, saying that his opponents were mainly career politicians.

Now where have we heard that?

If Flint, Mich., was full of rich people

flintwater800I guess this should be funny/ironic, but this is exactly what would have happened.

Things are so bad in Flint, the people who live there would rather have someone from Virginia test their water, because they know the state is going to lie to them:

In Flint, Mich., there is a famous block of concrete that for decades has served as a community message board. Like an old-school Facebook feed, residents use it to post personal news, images, upcoming events and commentary in sprawling graffiti.

This week, several residents went to “The Block” (or “The Rock,” depending on whom you ask) with a message. In big, black capital letters they painted: “YOU WANT OUR TRUST?? WE WANT VA Tech!!!” Underneath they wrote “PSI” and circled it in red with a line through it. It stands for Professional Service Industries Inc., the independent business the city hired to test its water for contamination, and which the residents don’t trust.

They want Marc Edwards, Virginia Tech’s environmental engineering professor who once led, almost entirely on his own, a crusade against the federal government’s failure to protect residents of Washington from lead in the city’s water. And he won.

Edwards spent thousands of dollars out of his own pocket to test the water when a Flint resident asked for his help. He presented his findings of dangerous lead levels to the state, and he was ignored. Then he got the public records that showed the state knew there was a problem and did nothing about it.

The truly tragic figure in the life of Harry Potter

It would have been fascinating to have a Harry Potter movie from Severus Snape’s point of view. It would have been excruciatingly sad.

When I watched the series and Remus said Dumbledore trusted Snape, it hit me that I had to trust Snape as well. And I understood Dumbledore’s death when it happened because I figured out that Snape was in on a much bigger plan.

Alan Rickman, who brought the Half-Blood Prince to life, died last week at the age of 69 of cancer.