The dinosaur diaries

It must have been easier being a dinosaur. You didn’t have to worry about people telling you the end was coming and that some asteroid was on its way to kill you. One day you’re munching on a tree; the next minute you’re tomorrow’s unleaded gasoline.

Last night PBS broadcast a National Geographic special that blamed the kill-off of fish around the world on undersea methane explosions that had something to do with plankton settling near the bottom of the ocean and the only reason that happened is because sardines, which were once in abundance in Namibia and now aren’t, used to eat the plankton, preventing the methane explosions, preventing the fish kill, preventing the… well, you know; you’re not a dinosaur. All because of sardines. Ain’t that a killer?

That was on right after another documentary (Nova) in which Tom and Ray Magliozzi (the Car Talk guys), who laugh hysterically about the coming end of the world, nevertheless tell us all about the ideas for no-emission automobiles that haven’t got a prayer of being perfected in time to save us.

Years ago, we were told drinking 8 glasses of water a day was good for us. So we did. Then, we drank not only water, but water from a spring in the French Alps, personally bottled by fair maidens whose skin had never been exposed to direct sunlight. And we didn’t just suck it out of the plastic bottle — which we know can kill us — we occasionally dumped it into our “hydration gear,” which we also find now, can kill us.

That’s if we’re lucky. Because otherwise, scientists say, water from plastic bottles can lead to early puberty, which will make your 8 year old sound like Barry White, which, in turn, will lead us to literally eat plastic bottles to escape the suffering caused by an 8 year old’s non-stop rendition of “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe.”

Oh, and the 8 glasses of water a day? Forget it. The scientists haven’t said it can kill us. But they will. It can all kill us.

In the meantime, while we’re waiting to become the next fuel for tomorrow’s civilization of highly-developed cockroaches, we’re fielding questions about the things that can kill us.

Here’s one that came in yesterday that I’ve been asked to address:

I’m having trouble identifying bottles that have BPA. the students in your story report that bottles with numbers 1,2,4 and 5 are safe.

I notice on my bottle that there are two numbers. First there is the number 7 that is enclosed in a recycling symbol triangle (three arrows forming a triangle), next there is simply a number 4. Which of these numbers am I supposed to go by? The New York Times this week had an article and an image of the number 7 within the recycling symbol it seemed to indicate that this symbol was on BPA treated bottles…

CamelBak’s Web site states that a number 7 bottle is safe (but where do i look for the number 7? within the triangle or outside?). Wikipedia notes that bottles with a number 7 and a the initials PC are created with BPA.

I’m very confused. Also please help me figure out what to do with these bottles if they do have BPA. I don’t want to use them. Recycling doesn’t seem to make sense, and I don’t want to just dump them, and have the BPA end up in the landfills. HELP!!!

For the answer, I turned to William Toscano, head of the Division of Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota:

I believe the number outside the recycling symbol is the number from the injection mold. In the case she cites it is from the fourth position. Plastic manufacturers use those numbers fo check the quality of the mold. So, for example, if defective bottles with a number 4 were found, it would indicate that position would have to be repaired by the tool and die maker. The number within the recycling symbol is the one that shows the type of plastic.

Her second question, I have been suggesting recycling. Hope this is useful.

Your news questions, cheerfully answered here.

  • Than

    On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. – Narrator, Fight Club

    Than Tibbetts


  • c


    i thought plankton was really only a character on sponge bob.


  • GregS

    Only bad news is news.

  • minn whaler

    And I am getting out of bed for what?

  • c


    my father always said to me and still does when i feel as though the darkness tries to consume me

    ‘illegitemate non carborandum’

    (don’t let the bastards wear you down)

    it’s raining today, its cloudy and gray, but i am thinking about how we need this rain to raise the lake levels so they are not so green this year. and i think of the gardens.

    its all good.

  • Nikki

    Bob Collins! You are awesome! I guess, along with the Car Guys, I enjoy laughing hysterically about the end of days. But come on… The world is hysterical… We (as a species) are so egotistical about our brain power. All of these amazing inventions and advances…but we keep kicking ourselves in the end anyway. I love it!!! I say, reduce, reuse, recycle. know that the glaciers are melting, that landfills are overflowing, that rain is toxic, but dont let it stop you from sticking your tongue out when it rains on occasion…and DO NOT let it stop you from trying to save humanity! After all… sometimes it is great to take advice from our nation’s dillusioned president… We can win this war! Hurray!!!!!