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.
Thank Physicist Michael Faraday For Your Electronics
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Physicist and chemist Michael Faraday is credited for having said, "There's nothing quite as frightening as someone who knows they are right." But when it came to electromagnetism, Faraday got a lot of things just right. The scientist, born on September 22, 1791, in south London, made scientific discoveries and advancements that are present in almost all of the electronics we deal with today. Specifically, Faraday was a pioneer in the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. In 1831, Faraday made the huge discovery of electromagnetic induction. This is the principle behind the electric transformer and generator, devices that are often used today. Discovering electromagnetic induction was a huge step in making electricity a tangible, practical, and powerful new technology, instead of just a curious concept. He was partly responsible for creating the words electrode, cathode, and ion. He also invented the Faraday cage, which is a shield that blocks electricity from affecting what's inside the cage. This technology is present in MRI machines, microwaves, and cables and is even responsible for the suits that power linemen wear. Learn more about Faraday's amazing scientific advancements in the videos below.
Marie Curie Couldn't Legally Attend College, So She Did It Illegally
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Marie Curie is the trailblazing scientist known for receiving two Nobel Prizes, one in physics and another in chemistry, among her many other contributions to science. But her achievements were quite close to never happening at all. During Marie Curie's time in Poland in the 1800s, higher education for women was illegal. The country, then controlled by Russian, Prussian, and Austrian powers, strictly limited what could be taught, and banned women from attending college altogether. But that didn't stop Curie. She attended what was known as the Flying University, a secret organization that began in 1882 in Warsaw, Poland. Polish professors, philosophers, and historians led seminars and lectures for students who were shunned by the current government-controlled education system of the time. To avoid detection from officials, since this type of schooling was illegal, the Flying University sessions jumped from private home to private home. By the 1890s, the school had nearly one thousand students from both sexes. Get a quick recap of Curie's education and career in the video below.