Science Bitches!

Apparently an article by the name of 8 Foods We Eat In The U.S. That Are Banned In Other Countries has been a bit of a sensation online lately, warning people about all the evil toxic substances being put into the food supply by evil toxic people for evil toxic reasons. Happily someone who has a basic (actually much, much more than basic, but basic is all that’s actually needed in this case) knowledge of chemistry and the initiative to actually look at the research has stepped forward and written a counter-article that completely torpedoes the original fear-mongering piece of trash.

You should really go and read it yourself, but the basic conclusion is something that I’ve thought for years – if the population at large had even a basic understanding of science, there would be a whole lot less bullshit in the world.

Some important points…

  • Elements change their properties and behaviour when combined into molecules with other elements. Just because an element is toxic, doesn’t mean a molecule containing it is toxic.
  • There is no difference between “natural” chemicals and “manmade” chemicals – there’s just chemicals. Chemicals don’t have any kind of memory of where or how they were made and don’t inherit any intrinsic “natural” or “unnatural” quality from their point of origin.
  • All matter, everything you can touch, taste and eat is made of chemicals. The only thing that is “chemical free” is empty space.
  • Nature produces all manner of dangerous, toxic, horrible substances that will really mess up your day. Science produces all kinds of useful, harmless, beneficial substances that you use without thinking about every single day.
  • Poison is only poison above a certain dose. Below that dose it doesn’t hurt you at all.

If everyone could understand these very basic facts the world would be a much better place.

A Modest Proposal

A herd of whales go racing past

I propose a new unit of measurement. The Heston – which is used to measure the density of amphibians.

One Heston equals 100,000 amphibians per square mile (or 38,610.21586 amphibians per square kilometre). Examples of declination follow…

1 Megaheston= 1,000,000,000 amphibians per square mile
1 Kiloheston = 100,000,000 amphibians per square mile
1 Hectoheston = 10,000,000 amphibians per square mile
1 Decaheston = 1,000,000 amphibians per square mile
1 Heston = 100,000 amphibians per square mile
1 Deciheston = 10,000 amphibians per square mile
1 Centiheston = 1,000 amphibians per square mile
1 Milliheston = 100 amphibians per square mile
1 Microheston = 10 amphibians per square mile
1 Nanoheston = 1 amphibian per square mile

It cannot be denied that this unit would be of great use to the world of science, and I expect the International Committee for Weights and Measures to adopt it immediately, and shall wait patiently for my Nobel Prize for suggesting it.

Running Low on Snake Oil

A victory for science!

Looks like sanity has finally asserted itself regarding that whole “Power Band” thing. I mean c’mon – a “hologram” encoded with a “frequency” that enhances your body’s “energy field”? Anyone with the slightest bit of scientific knowledge knew that the product was complete crap, but basic scientific knowledge seems to be in short supply these days. Thankfully the ACCC has stepped in and not just slapped them down, but ordered them to refund all the credulous idiots who purchased the damn things. Victory!

(I was actually fairly disappointed the other week when I noticed one of the cute girls down at the sandwich bar wearing a power band. Maybe she’ll wise up now.)

Christmas looks to be stupidly hot. Latest forecast is 38 degrees and there’s talk of unusual levels of humidity. Might as well be in Singapore damnit!