Do You Know What Chemicals Are In Your Tattoo?
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According to the European Commission's Joint Research Center (JRC), 12% of Europeans and as many as 24% of Americans have tattoos. Which makes this next fact all the more alarming: a lack of research and spotty regulation of tattoo inks means those tattoos could contain a whole host of harmful compounds. For example, many pigments in tattoo inks are sourced from the textile, plastic, or automotive industry.
After-Dinner Headache? MSG Is Probably Not To Blame.
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You've probably seen Chinese restaurants touting their food's MSG-free status. You may have even noticed strange symptoms after eating food you suspected had MSG. What is this strange ingredient, and why is it so vilified? At the turn of the 20th century, a Japanese man named Kikunae Ikeda noticed something interesting about the dashi broth his wife used in her cooking. There was something to it that was unlike the four basic tastes we knew about. Luckily, Ikeda was a chemistry professor at the University of Tokyo, so he quickly got to work studying and isolating this mysterious flavor from the kombu seaweed that formed the basis of the broth. What he created was the molecule C5H9NO4, or glutamic acid—the compound responsible for the new flavor he coined umami, from the Japanese umai, or "delicious". By adding salt, he was able to turn the molecule into a more stable, granular substance that could be sprinkled on food, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) was born.
The Poison Squad Ate Questionable Foods To Keep People Safe
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Although "The Poison Squad" would make a great title for an action movie, it was actually the name of an important group from history. The poison squad was a group of undergraduate students established in 1902 who voluntarily ate foods with untested preservatives and chemicals to make some quick cash. They ate anything, and they were proud of it.
Underground Methane Bubbles Create A Dangerous Natural Trampoline
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It's a fantastical sight — patches of grassy, green Earth wobbling up and down like a waterbed. But there's nothing fictional about this scene. Over a dozen of these patches were discovered in Siberia in July 2016. And the reality is worrisome: these patches of bouncy grass are the result of enormous methane bubbles trapped beneath the surface. The ground in these areas is like a giant, natural, and extremely dangerous trampoline. What's dangerous about these wobbly spots is that they could burst if enough pressure is applied. And bursting this bubble means trouble for climate change: methane is twice as potent as carbon dioxide in warming Earth's atmosphere. It's unclear how these underground gas pockets formed, but it's thought that abnormal heat caused the region's permafrost to thaw, which releases gases. Watch the land bob around like a grassy bubble in the video below.
YInMn Blue Is A New Pigment That Was Discovered By Accident
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In 2009, scientists at Oregon State University accidentally stumbled on a discovery: a new color. The "near-perfect" pigment, named YInMn blue, was discovered when the researchers heated manganese oxide and other chemicals to nearly 2,000°F (1,200°C), even though they were actually conducting an experiment about electronics, not color. The pigment is unique in that it can withstand fading from oil or water, making it especially appealing to art restorations. And, unlike Prussian blue or Cobalt blue pigments, the new blue does not contain carcinogens or release toxins. Its highly reflective nature also means YInMn blue may be painted on houses to reflect light and keep them cool. It was announced in June 2016 that the new pigment would soon be available as paint in the commercial market. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.