According to Brian Clegg, writing about “bromide” in Chemistry World this week. Bromide salts had an early role in reducing the impact of epilepsy and seizures, which were at the time thought to be caused by an over-active libido and more specifically masturbation.
“Potassium bromide was linked to the reduction of sexual passions,” writes Clegg. “It doesn’t seem unreasonable, then, that potassium bromide might be used in an attempt to reduce sexual tension in circumstances where men were isolated for long periods, hence the story of bromide in the tea [given to soldiers during the Great War]“.
Personally, I recall some time in the 1990s during the time I was contributing chemistry news and features to New Scientist magazin, I had a call from a researcher at one of the big UK soap operas at the time (no longer on our screens, oh alright it was Brookside).
The scriptwriters had a character (Sinbad) who was being overlibidinous and the researcher wanted to know if there were anything they might have his girlfriend add to his tea to temper his desires. They’d heard about “bromide”, but that does seem still to be considered something of a myth, as Brian explains.
I don’t remember what I actually told the researcher they might use, but suggested whatever it was would complicate the “humourous” plotline by introducing an element of pharmaceutical fraud, whereby the girlfriend would have to get hold of something prescription only (an antidepressant/sedative with libido-reducing side-effects, for instance).
I think in the end the scriptwriters were told to find another way that Sinbad’s girlfriend might quell his desires…given that he was the soap’s windowcleaner maybe they had her slap about the place with a wet squeegee…
Okay…you know people always say that travelling back in time, with a “time machine”, wormhole or whatever, would be impossible because if you could go back in time, you might bump into your grandparents before your parents were conceived and somehow your presence prevents one of the conceptions that lead to your parents and ultimately you so that you are never born so are never “in the future” so that you could never use that time machine to travel back and stymie the conception of one of your parents, so you would be born and so could travel back in time and…you get it…it’s a PARADOX. They even made a whole movie franchise from it starring Michael J Fox, after all.
But, here’s the the thing. If you were able to travel back in time and somehow stopped your mother giving birth to you so that you never travelled back in time then, the timeloop might alternatively close so that you’d be stuck in the time before your birth with no time machine…
Anyway, enough of that, here’s an amusing video showing most of the continuity and a few metaphysical bloopers in Back to the Future
Scientists have the strongest evidence yet that granite exists on Mars. The findings suggest a much more geologically complex Mars than previously believed.
Large amounts of a mineral found in granite, feldspar, have been detected by the spectrometers on board the NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter; the granite is present in an ancient Martian volcano. Moreover, minerals that are common in basalts that are rich in iron and magnesium, ubiquitous on Mars, are nearly completely absent at this location. The location of the feldspar also provides an explanation for how granite could have formed on Mars.
Granite, or its eruptive equivalent, rhyolite, is often found on Earth in tectonically active regions such as subduction zones. This is unlikely on Mars, but the researchers studying the data suggest that prolonged magmatic activity on Mars may well have led to these compositions on large scales.