The Nietzsche-ian quote, "Whatever does not kill me makes me stronger," by now is a cliché. But when it comes to toxicology, it is apparently quite literally true.
This is a new concept to me. It's called 'hormesis'. Minute amounts of exposure to stuff famous for being hazardous, such as cadmium, or gamma rays, is actually beneficial to health. Take a look at the graphs in this SciAm article. It may be that the body needs to be exposed to stressors at low levels in order to adapt to them at high levels.
I remember reading that the same may be true of arsenic (minute amounts may be necessary for health) around the time of the controversy over the Bush administration's temporary hold on the Clinton administration's last-minute regulation of arsenic in drinking water, but the whole situation was so politicized I couldn't tell whether it was a serious scientific idea, or just partisan FUD.
ObSFF: Richard Wilson's 1964 story, "The Carson Effect."
Extra bonus, also from Marginal Revolution: the 10 most successful kleptocrats of the late 20th century. Eww.
I keep getting emails from various of Sani Abacha's relatives...
小銭 == kozeni == small change
|Left radical is 'gold/metal/money' (金), right is 'two halberds'. The right radical acts phonetically to express 'taper'; this character originally referred to the tapered metal shape of a plowshare. Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Two gold halberds reduced to mere coin.'|