Humankind’s relationship with psychoactive substances can be traced back thousands of years to religious trances induced by specific plants and fungai. But some substances are more addictive than others, and opium, caffeine and nicotine have become commonplace, in some senses socially acceptable, vices.
Scientists might just be about to answer one of the great puzzles of biodiversity and renewable energy: why one of nature’s most agile flyers, a creature with the most sophisticated ultrasonic tracking system, should be so fatally attracted to wind turbines.
In a video called “Smoking Teeth” on the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology’s website, a man takes an extracted tooth and rubs its 25-year-old amalgam filling with a pencil eraser. A phosphorescent screen in the background illuminates mercury offgassing — more than 1,000 times higher than what the Environmental Protection Agency allows for our air.