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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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« Save Your Tears | Main | Another Shot »

June 23, 2002

Stupidity, But Not the Dangerous Kind

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Posted by Derek

After going off on the Weekly Standardon the 11th about the ridiculous miracle-cancer-cure ad they accepted, I see that there's one nearly as stupid in the latest National Review.Fortunately, it's not a particularly dangerous one.

It's for a book that touts a zillion uses for hydrogen peroxide, that wonder chemical that apparently will do everything except housebreak your dog. The good part is that it doesn't actually say that you should drink the stuff to cure cancer, and that's enough for me to hold my fire. If someone gets ripped off because of curiosity about new ways to simultaneously clean their refrigerator and soak their feet, I won't lose much sleep over it.

Of course, there have been various oxygen-therapy yahoots promoting peroxide and worse for years, and many of them claim to cure cancer (and whatever else you've got, though they don't seem to do much for the Heartbreak of Gullibility.) I once saw a come-on that impressed me greatly, promoting some sort of superoxygenated water as a way to get rid of free radicals in your body. That's kind of like selling gasoline-filled fire extinguishers, chemically speaking.

There's not too much good you can do with household hydrogen peroxide, but (fortunately,) not much harm, either. But I worked in a lab once where we had fairly good quantities of the 90% stuff, back in the days when it was more widely available. Now that material could be a real agent for change in your life. We had a spiffy chain-mail glove set that we used to pick it up, and donning those tended to concentrate your mind on the task at hand. . .

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