Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shiver me timbers: Pirates, Chemistry and the World

Posted by Anke on 07/29 at 10:56 AM Pirates of the Caribbean, swashbuckling-themed fancy dress parties, Fuzzy Buccaneers* - who does not enjoy pirates in the summer? But as we have come to realize over time, real-life pirates are a far cry from their romanticized movie mateys. But help is at hand, in chemical form:

As the German newspaper “Die Zeit” ( reported recently, a shipping company in Bremen intends to step up its game in the fight against piracy: razor wire rather than regular barbed wire will keep pirates away from each ship’s deck. But before they can even get that far, chemical irritants spewed out with a high pressure hose, will scare them off good! The effect is well proven in the German police’s use of water cannons in messy situations. Fancy that: pirates, summer, and water hoses – and chemistry! More appropriate news I could not find for this current blog post.

Talking about the retrieval of news: there is much quirky, interesting and valuable news out there, in foreign language papers, which rarely makes US newspapers. (I still recall my surprise at the make-up of the ‘international’ section in the New York Times: the world had shrunk and turned very sad and nasty all of a sudden!). Maybe there is a way to make more world news in science available to mono-lingual speakers of the English language through podcasts, blogs and other media. I raise my rum to that!


* Fuzzy Buccaneer: apparently a cocktail using equal parts of peach schnapps and rum, topped up with orange juice – shiver me timbers, indeed, matey!

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