Every July something Amazing happens! Skeptics from around the country, really the world, gather together in Las Vegas for The Amaz!ng Meeting, (TAM) hosted by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). But this year something even more amazing is happening. A regular participant of PASS events has won a grant to attend the The Amazing Meeting for her very first time.
The grant was offered by Surly Amy of the Skepchick blog and Surlyramics and was open to any woman who would not be able to attend TAM without it.
If you haven’t met Amanda at one of our events yet here is a little bit about how awesome she is:
Amanda Baraldi received her B.S. in mathematics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and her M.A. in clinical psychology from Columbia University. She is currently a PhD student at Arizona State University studying quantitative psychology. Broadly, quantitative psychology is concerned with the design and analysis of research pertaining to psychological data and other social sciences. Amanda believes that quantitative psychology is vital to keeping the “science” in “social science”. Specifically, Amanda’s research pertains to missing data analyses, mediation analyses (e.g. X causes M causes Y as opposed to just an X to Y relationship), longitudinal growth modeling, and prevention research. Besides her academic work, Amanda enjoys crafting, board games, musical theater, and, of course, science and skepticism.
Over the holiday weekend a group of Phoenix children and swim school employees received a harsh lesson in chemistry that ended up in a trip to the hospital for some after inhaling toxic fumes. The children and employees were exposed to a non-life-threatening plume caused by a mixture of muriatic acid and chlorine at the Hubbard Family Swim School, near Thunderbird Road and 32nd Street in Phoenix, according to the Arizona Republic.
An employee at the school accidentally mixed the substances during a routine maintenance procedure, said Bob Hubbard, owner of the swim school.
Muriatic acid also known as hydrochloric acid and chlorine are both commonly used in swimming pools. The muriatic acid is used to balance the acidity of the pool and the chlorine is used to keep the pool’s bacterial levels low. But when the two are mixed together they create a low concentrated form of chlorine gas.
Chlorine gas is a powerful irritant that can inflict damage to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. At high concentrations and prolonged exposure it can cause death by asphyxiation. In fact it was used as a weapon during World War I.
Fortunately in the swim school the concentrations were two low to cause life threatening damage. Phoenix Fire Department officials treated eight people for exposure, and sent five people to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
Symptoms of exposure to the plume included irritated eyes, respiratory irritation and vomiting.
The school was temporarily evacuated and Phoenix fire officials ventilated the building and were monitoring the air before allowing people back into the pool.
Hubbard said the school plans to review its maintenance procedures with the fire department to ensure safe practices. He added that the substances are stored separately in the building.