Monday, 11 April 2011

Nitrogen as 'pollution'

First spotted via 'An Englishmans castle' the latest nonsense dressed up as a scientific study has hit the lamestream media. Nitrogen is now, according to them, a 'pollutant'. Well bust mah britches! Now Nitrate pollution yes, that is a problem. Agricultural Nitrate runoff (Often linked to biofuel production) has been linked to plankton blooms, coral reef bleaching and other serried unpleasantries.

Note the differences between Nitrogen, Nitrates and Nitrites.

Nitrogen, according to the encyclopaedias, is;
A mostly inert element with the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. A colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere.

Nitrate, according to the self same references, is;
A polyatomic (several atom) ion with the molecular formula NO−3 and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. In organic chemistry a nitrate is a functional group with general chemical formula RONO2 where R stands for any organic residue. Nitrates have a wide range of uses; Ammonium Nitrate, a fertiliser, when mixed with the right concentration of Fuel Oil, becomes ANFO, a powerful explosive still favoured by nutty dissident Republicans in Northern Ireland.

Which should not be confused with Nitrites;
The Nitrite ion has the chemical formula NO2−. The anion is symmetric with equal N-O bond lengths and a O-N-O bond angle of ca. 120°. Nitrites are often used, as salts, in meat and other food preservatives.

"Yes." The researchers responsible might opine. "But they've got eevil Nitrogen in, yeah?" I think someone failed (Or never studied at all) basic Chemistry. They've looked at Nitrogen fixing as a process, ignored basic issues and processes, and then done the 100 metres semantic conclusion jump. FAIL.

Examine the following statement (Amongst others) from the report:
"It's much more efficient to obtain protein by eating plants rather than animals." Ah, so it's a 'Go Veggie' puff piece dressed up as science.

I think a vegetarian diet must do something to the mind. While humans are capable for subsisting on vegetables alone for months or even years at a time, they will always need supplements of elements which a vegetarian diet is naturally low in. However, such a diet is specifically low in the various Omega fatty acids and various enzyme components which fully nourish the human body. These protein chains are specifically useful for both aiding the development and keeping nerve and brain tissue healthy.

Humanity is, like so many other species, omnivorous. Our digestive systems say it (Adapted for a mixed diet), our dentition says it (Incisors and canines are for cutting and tearing). Man has not evolved to live on Fruit and grains alone.

Humans need the protein chains generally found in meat and fish. As for fats, ever heard of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, & K? Yet ignorant people would have us think all fat is 'bad'. Excuse me, who has to buy dietary supplements? Not omnivorous I.

Whilst Vegetarianism or Veganism may be a lifestyle choice for some (Hey, be vegetarian if you want - nobody really minds), they should not foist their choices on others. Especially through dodgy reports like this.


Angry Exile said...

Oh, no. What are we to do about the almost 80% of it in the air around us? Quick, replace it with something safe and stable and inert... oh.

Oh well, at least nitrogen doesn't cause earthquakes.So far.

Next up, sunshine causes climate change, just as soon as we find a way of blaming mankind for there being the wrong amount of it. ;-)

delcatto said...

I chewed this over in my mind as I chewed on the delicious steak I had for dinner this evening and I thought... are the mass media running out of things to scare us with because they appear to be grasping at straws? Facial hair, oxygen and stripey socks will be blamed for something or other next.

Bill Sticker said...

I reckon it's like teenage girls and 'slasher' movies. They want to see how brave they are in front of all their friends, so they purposely look out for the scariest, goriest stuff they can find. Then watch it, taking turns to peer over the top of the sofa, or through shuttered fingers.

Same thing for the lamestream and their audience. They actively like telling pointless scary stories because it brings excitement to their dreary little lives, and makes them look more impressive than they really are.

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