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General Science

Why do onions make you cry when you cut them? And why are they sweet when you fry them?

20 Feb 2017

Onion chemistry is extremely fascinating and extremely complex! We’ve been intrigued by this vegetable ever since our prehistoric ancestors gathered and cooked wild onions. By the time of the First...

Chemistry lesson for The Food Babe… and everyone else #17: The Carnation Tragedy of the '30s

17 Feb 2017

Back in the 1930s a flower merchant with a greenhouse full of carnations got worried when the weather forecast called for extremely cold temperatures. So he placed a kerosene burner in the...

Chemistry lesson for The Food Babe… and everyone else #11: Randomized, controlled, and double-blind studies

15 Feb 2017

The gold standard in science is the randomized, controlled, double-blind trial. If you want to know whether Garcinia cambogia causes weight loss, or whether glucosamine helps with arthritic pain,...

Carmine Dye and the Cochineal Insect

15 Feb 2017

At least in a manner of speaking. When Hernan Cortez came to America in 1518 he was intrigued by the beautifully coloured Aztec fabrics, particularly the stunning reds. He asked the natives about...

Chemistry lesson for The Food Babe… and everyone else #9: SLS, the synthetic detergent

15 Feb 2017

“Syndets” were originally developed by chemists to eliminate a problem commonly found with soap, namely “scum” formation. Soaps, unlike detergents, react with dissolved minerals in water to form an...

Chemistry lesson for The Food Babe… and everyone else #7: The difference between hazard and risk

15 Feb 2017

We know that Ms. Food Babe’s scientific knowledge is negligible. Especially when it comes to understanding the difference between hazard and risk. This is important especially when it come to...

Chemistry lesson for The Food Babe… and everyone else #5: DNA

15 Feb 2017

Just about everyone now knows something about DNA (with some obvious notable exceptions). The term “template of life” has been repeatedly used in the press to describe this molecule. That is quite...

The "No-poo" Craze

20 Jan 2017

What do Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian, Adele and Howie Mandel have in common? They don’t “poo.” No, we are not talking about chronic constipation. We are talking about not sham”poo”ing. With...

The Thermite Reaction

20 Jan 2017

The place was Edinburgh, Scotland. The occasion, the Edinburgh Science Festival. There were a number of captivating presentations, but my biggest thrill came from looking out the hotel window. A...

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