Tag Archives: Chemistry

Chemists Explain Why You Probably Shouldn’t Bother With Cough Syrup

Every year, people spend billions of dollars on cough syrup. But is it really effective? A new video by the American Chemical Society explains why most cough medicines don’t actually work as advertized.

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The Mysterious Machinery of Creatures That Glow in the Deep

DIVE DEEP ENOUGH under the surface of the ocean, and light reigns. Some 90 percent of the fish and crustaceans that dwell at depths of 100 to 1,000 meters are capable of making their own light. Flashlight fish hunt and communicate with a flashing Morse code sent by light pockets that pulse under their eyes. Tubeshoulder fish shoot luminous ink at their attackers. Hatchetfish make themselves appear invisible by generating light on their underbellies to mimic downwelling sunlight; predators prowling below look up to see only a continuous glow.

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Master the Chemistry of Juicy, Tender Salmon

IF YOUR PAN-SEARED salmon didn’t quite turn out right, you may be tempted to blame it on the type of salmon you bought—maybe it was farm-raised instead of wild—but none of that should matter if you understand the chemistry of how this colorful fish cooks. For another episode of Edible Science, Dan Souza, ultra chef-nerd and co-author of the new Cook’s Scienceby America’s Test Kitchen, shows us how brining and low temperatures can help enhance the flavor and retain the moisture of salmon, no matter what kind you buy.

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SCIENTISTS JUST SYNTHESIZED THE DEADLY TOXIN OF AN ADORABLE FROG

There’s just around 170 milligrams – somewhere between the mass of a one-carat diamond and the amount of caffeine in a Monster Energy Drink. That’s how much batrachotoxin (BTX) is left in the world, according to the most recently available figures. Found in the skin of the golden poison dart frog Phyllobates terribilis, this toxin is so potent that one milligram of it would be enough to kill between 10 and 20 humans.

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What’s Inside Blue Ballpoint Ink? Fatty Acids and Alcohol

Synthetic Dyes

Patents for ballpoint pens go back to the late 1800s, but it took half a century to develop good, fast-drying inks. Bic, Pilot, and other makers jealously guard their formulas, but to get that classic ballpoint blue, these companies mix up a cocktail of colorants.

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LSD Can Mess With the Language Centers in Your Brain

The stereotype of late 1960s authors and musicians is that certain drugs can help to expand the mind and make the user more creative. As someone who has never taken psychedelics, I can’t know this for sure, but a recent study seems to be the first step in displaying scientific evidence in support of that claim.

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