Sunday, 13 August 2017

08:50 – It was 67.8F (20C) when I took Colin out at 0725, partly cloudy and calm.

We’re now in good shape on forensic science kits. Today we’re building stock of biology kits, as well as several other subassemblies that we use in several kits.


My reaction to the riot in Charlottesville yesterday is that it could have been a whole lot worse than it turned out to be. One dead and 35 injured as a direct result of the riot, with two cops dead in a helicopter crash that, as far as I know, was not directly related to any actions taken by the rioters.

When you think about, there were hundreds to thousands of people present, half of whom hate blacks for being black and the other half of whom hate whites for being white. Both groups are known for being armed and bringing weapons to these events. We could have ended up with a firefight that killed dozens of people on each side, and possibly innocent bystanders. This could have been the trigger for a shooting race war. It still could turn out to be.


The saga of the little Malamute continues. It turns out she is a chicken killer. We didn’t realize that Mr. Parker, the guy in the pickup who was looking for her the other day, already knew where she lived. She’s his next-door neighbor’s dog, and he caught her on video yesterday killing another half dozen of his chickens. This apparently has been an ongoing problem, and you can’t blame the guy for being upset. Letting any dog run loose in a farming area is a big no-no, let alone letting a known livestock killer run loose.


All the furor about North Korea and nuclear war has lots of people panic-prepping. One of the things they’re stocking up on is potassium iodide tablets. A couple of weeks ago, I happened to notice that Amazon was suggesting I buy some IO-SAT KI tablets. At the time, they were selling them for $6 or $7 for a foil strip of 14. I followed a link back to that product yesterday, and saw it’s now selling for $14 per strip. A buck a pill for 0.13 grams of potassium iodide. $0.50/pill was bad enough. Geez.

If you’re really concerned about keeping KI on hand, don’t waste money on these pills. Just buy USP- or reagent-grade potassium iodide crystals. Many vendors sell it on Amazon. Here’s one example at $12.35 for 100 grams, with free shipping. That 100 grams is about 750 adult doses, at about $0.016/dose.

If you don’t need 750+ adult doses on hand, buy a 25-gram bottle, for five or six bucks. That’s something like 185 adult doses. Dissolve the 25 grams of KI in one liter of water. That solution contains 25 mg/mL, so an adult dose is just over 5 mL. Call it a teaspoon. Conveniently, that makes a child dose a half teaspoon and an infant dose a quarter teaspoon.

That’s not exact, you say? It doesn’t matter. The supposed adult dose of 130 mg (sometimes shown as 131 mg) is pretty arbitrary. It happens to correspond to 100 mg of iodine, give or take. Someone somewhere estimated that 100 mg of iodine was sufficient to saturate the average person’s thyroid, so that’s what they recommend, whether you take it as the iodide or iodate salt. The recommended amount of either contains about the same amount of iodine. Taking a bit less doesn’t mean you’ll drop dead of radiation poisoning; taking a bit more doesn’t mean you’ll drop dead of iodine poisoning.

Incidentally, although the IO-SAT tablets list an “expiration date” seven years after manufacture, that’s entirely bogus. Potassium iodide lasts essentially forever. It’ll be just as effective 700 years or 700 thousand years from now as it is today. The worst that will happen is that the KI may oxidize, turning the tablets or solution a pale yellow. Doesn’t matter. It’s the iodine part that’s the active component. Elemental iodine tastes terrible, but you can reduce iodine back to iodide simply by adding a vitamin C tablet to the solution.

In fact, I make up iodine standard solution that’s 5% w/v iodine, present as 6.5% w/v potassium iodide. That means an adult dose is 2 mL, and a 30 mL bottle is 15 adult doses. I mix the stuff up by the liter and dissolve several 500 mg Vitamin C tablets in a liter of the solution to stabilize it. I then package it in 30 mL bottles, which I can hand out to friends and neighbors in an emergency.