Chemicals & Chemistry

Millions of people rely on hard water, which contains high concentrations of dissolved minerals. Far from being a hazard, these dissolved minerals actually seem to be beneficial. Ada McVean, from McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, pours over the topic. Drink up!
According to homeopathy, the more dilute a solution, the more powerful it gets. So it naturally follows that making the solutions even *more* dilute - super-homeopathy- will make them even stronger. This provides a simple solution for the opioid crisis. But you'd better be careful. There could be unforeseen consequences, especially from guys with oversized prostate glands.
It is very tempting to purposefully mislabel a product if you can make extra money and get away with it. But, using isotope analysis, chemists have devised a way to discriminate conventional and organic milk.
To begin to understand why it looks as it does, first off is that oxygen is both a friend and enemy of cut meat. Initially, it makes meat look appealing, But further exposure to oxygen makes meat look less so, even though it is not indicative of spoilage. Read more to learn about all the chemistry taking place under the plastic wrap.
That's a good question. Let's go back more than 200 years for a look at an early answer to this fundamental question.
Plenty of art critics can babble on about this or that. But currently, at the Whitney Museum in New York, a Warhol show is getting rave, babbling reviews. Partly because the flamboyant artist urinated on some of his work. His pee – and that of others, ewww – caused copper paint to turn color. Others can babble about art, but only we at ACSH dare to explain the pop-art power of pee. Call it what you will, anything that is except yellow journalism.
Screwy medicine is nothing new. Some of what went on 400 years ago makes Joe "Crazy Joe" Mercola seem like Albert Schweitzer. For example, infections were treated (unsuccessfully) with "ointment consisting essentially of the moss on the skull of a man who had died a violent death, combined with boar's and bear's fat, burnt worms, dried boar's brain, red sandal-wood, and mummy." A "real" Joe, Dr. Joe Schwarcz of McGill's OSS, looks at some ancient, and very odd, therapies.
Cigarette smoking is at an all-time low, and secondhand smoke exposure is also collapsing. So some public health officials have manufactured a new threat: Thirdhand smoke.
The plaintiffs claim that Ocean Spray lied about not using artificial flavors, and the only restitution is for the company to hand over a big bag of money. How big? Very big. They want a jury to award them "statutory, compensatory, treble, and punitive damages." That's all due to a technicality that hasn't affected their lives one iota.
The CDC's latest report shows dangerously high lead levels in children who live in households that contain spices, herbal remedies, and ceremonial powders -- in other words, the sort of things we associate with alternative medicine and other "natural" or "traditional" practices.
The Florida man who was arrested for synthesizing the "Mother of Satan" claims that he was just making fireworks. Uh-huh. Celebrating the Fourth of July early, we suppose? Here, we explain the chemistry behind the explosive.
You probably haven't spent a lot of time lately thinking about the element, nickel. Talk about boring. Well, guess what? It is very far from boring, especially when you learn some cool stuff. Here is some cool stuff.