An Anonymous Coward writes: "The NY Times (free reg required) has a story about ionic liquids possibly taking over from some of the nastier organic solvents. Apparently these things have been around since the 40s, but are only just getting a lot of attention now. They are supposed to be a lot more environmentally friendly, offer all sorts of wonderful properties for carrying out chemical reactions, and so on. They may be cool and different, but are they really better? Salt on the roads in the winter causes all kinds of problems -- aren't other kinds of salts going to cause problems in large quantities? On the other hand, cool and different is good too."