It took world class geologists to characterize/pull it out, though. And I think Pemex gave him a cushy lifetime job too!
There's nothing dumb about this approach, thought.
They have a whitelist of domains they support, and they intentionally implement support for paywalled sites.
They're just not big enough yet to where large publishers have started to go after them.
You're right that mercury metal isn't a such a big problem. The problem is that people are heating it and breathing the vapours.
Gold plating contacts may have been necessary with analog back in the day, but today's digital equipment is much more reliable thanks to error checking / correcting protocols, and other improvements. Besides, gold contacts wear out faster.
Amazon basics: https://www.amazon.co.uk/AmazonBasics-Male-B-Male-Cable-Feet...
Unnecessary if you ask me... It's more like jewellery rather than a cable :-)
Zinc / aluminium is probably a better combination for USB, as it's more durable.
I guess they'd hold up better in a damp environment.
I bought 2 sheets ($0.99) out of curiosity. They are so thin and fragile that they ball-up with the slightest "breeze".