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Helpful Animation Explains The Everyday Chemistry All Around Us

Enthalpy and entropy never looked so good

image via youtube screenshot

It’s not that I didn’t care about my high school chemistry classes. It’s just that, after spending the first few weeks of the semester trying to wrap my brain around the molar weight of Schrödinger's cat, I realized that no matter how many times I looked at the periodic table of elements, it was never not going to resemble a chess board from hell. Call me “defeatist” – I prefer to think of myself as having embraced the fact that discretion is often better part of valor. And, in this instance, I decided to discretely transfer into a different class to earn my science credit.

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Mess in Texas: Holding Big Oil Accountable in the Lone Star State

In unincorporated West Texas, where oil derricks dominate the landscape, locals aren't sure about "drill, baby, drill" anymore.

As I approach Midland, Texas from the southeast the rolling hills give way to large, engine-revving trucks, their menacing grills reflecting the setting sun into my rearview mirror. The asphalt beneath my white Toyota Corolla seems to be melting into the petroleum-laden ground from which it had emerged: Not even the road was prepared for the heavy vehicles that showed up with the recent oil and gas boom.

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'Hall of Shame' Calls Out the Terrifying Chemicals in Your Household Cleaners

Household cleaning products contain chemicals that can burn lungs, cause asthma, and pollute the air. Why's it so hard to stop using them?


When I first moved into my apartment, I bought one cleaning product: a big bottle of a lemon verbena-scented, environmentally friendly cleaner called Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. It served me well for awhile, but over time I've begun to accumulate harder-core chemicals. A houseguest bought some air-freshener. Toilet cleaner seemed necessary. A layer of grime stuck on the stove required Easy-Off oven cleaner to wipe clean.

It’s this last bottle that both terrifies and fascinates me. Spray just a little onto a grease spot that has resisted all cleaning efforts and within a couple of minutes, the gunk wipes away easily. But one time I accidentally caught a whiff of the stuff. It was the first time I ever understood what “burn your lungs” means. I felt like I was choking.

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EU Bans Penis-Shrinking Chemical; America Does Not

The European Union today banned a variety of dangerous chemicals that the United States is still using freely. Time to catch up, America.


Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, better known as DEHP, is a cheap plasticizer used in the production of PVC. It's also toxic and, in a 2008 study from the University of Rochester, was associated with "smaller penis size, incomplete descent of testes, and a shorter, less typically masculine distance between the anus and genitals in baby boys" whose mothers showed increased levels of the stuff. In other words, it's not safe, and today the European Union banned it from all household plastics. Why won't America do that?

In 2008, America banned DEHP from toys and child care products, but it's still allowed to flourish in a variety of housewares. And because DEHP has been known to leach into liquids with which it comes in contact—and because liquids that are then consumed—it's actually quite easy for people to ingest far too much of it (especially considering that any may be too much).

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Next Year, Let's Skip Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Can the pink ribbon be saved from corporate cause marketing, and actually mean something for women's health?


Can the pink ribbon be saved from corporate cause marketing, and actually mean something for women's health?

I love autumn, in large part for the colors: orange-gold leaves, red apples, multi-colored squashes. In the past few years, though, it seems that pink has become the most prominent October hue. It shows up everywhere: NFL players’ chin guards, inflatable rafts for playing beer pong, buckets of KFC chicken, ads for cosmetics. Even the big diesel truck that delivers my home heating oil is painted an unmistakable pastel pink now synonymous with “breast cancer awareness.”

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The FDA has long fought to regulate and cut back the widespread use of antibiotics in animal feed, which has created resistant super bugs that cause approximately 100,000 deaths per year in the United States. Most recently, they issued a policy proposal urging that antibiotics should only be used for agricultural livestock under a veterinarian's supervision, in the case of natural illness.

Brian Merchant writes on Treehugger:

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