Scientific Social

How Does Concrete Work and Why Is It Different From Pasta?

Wet concrete is spread it out and once it dries it can support large amounts weight. Pasta, too, starts out wet, later drying to form the noodles we can build bridges with (or eat)!

But when you get pasta wet, it gets weak and loses form while concrete does not.

Why do that behave differently? Don’t they both dry out after setting?

Henry from MinutePhysics explains!

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Why Do We Cook?

We differ from animals in a lot of ways, but what is it about us that got us to where we are? Most might say it is the utilization of tools, but a lot of animals use tools. So what is it then?

It’s our brains. This may be unsurprising, but how did our brains grow to be much bigger than our closest relatives? According to Richard Wrangham, a primatologist, it was cooking our food!

Cooking our food granted us access to a greater amount of energy than raw food would. This freed up more time for other activities such as language development, social interaction/cooperation, and tool making.

Watch Richard Wrangham’s lecture on this topic below

Read more at the Smithsonian – Fire makes us human.

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Honey is Better For You Than Other Sweeteners… Right? Well, Not So Fast.

Nutrition research is complicated. One study doesn’t overturn all previous studies. Most studies concerning nutrition have small sample sizes so their conclusions should be taken with a grain of salt.

That isn’t to say that making scientific statements about nutrition is impossible! It’s just that grandiose, click-baity headlines like “Honey is Better for You Than Other Sweeteners” (pot, meet kettle?) are probably misrepresenting or overstating the actual findings of the research and don’t consider how robust (large enough sample size, proper and meaningful statistics, etc.) the study is.

Aaron Carroll explains the pitfalls and difficulties of nutritional research in the above video!

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Five Chemicals That Are In Just About Everything You Eat

Ever wonder what you’re eating when you eat processed food? What exactly ARE these additives such as red dyes, xanthan gum, carrageenan, citric acid, and sodium benzoate?

SciShow takes us through five common chemical additives while also discussing topics like what it means to be classified as GRAS by the FDA.

CNN Health has compiled a table that includes many different food additives and their use, purpose, and possible side effects.

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You Probably Don’t Need to be On a Gluten-Free Diet

Gluten has been a hot topic lately. But what is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is found in grain products such as wheat, barely and rye. Approximately one percent of Americans suffer from Celiac disease, a condition in which gluten triggers an allergic reaction in the small intestine, interfering with the absorption of food. This is a serious disease which can, if left untreated, lead to serious illness and even death. It’s a good thing it’s relatively easy to treat, especially now that gluten-free diets are the new fad.

Though, as the title suggests, most (non-Celiac) people don’t need to be on a gluten-free diet; even those who claim to have a “gluten sensitivity.” Those people are most likely responding negatively to FODMAPS, rather than gluten. Diets low in FODMAPS have been shown to help treat the symptoms of irritable bowl syndrome, which may be confused with symptoms of Celiac disease.

Doctor Aaron Carroll explains!

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How Do Bicycles Stay Upright?

It’s something we’ve all thought about at one point in our lives. Perhaps we have had the misfortune of wondering this after falling from one.

One might think it is the rider that keeps it upright, but even riderless bikes stay upright (provided they’re going fast enough). So what’s going on here?

In the above video, Henry from MinutePhysics takes you through the physics of bicycles!

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i recycle

Happy America Recycles Day!

Today, November 15th is America Recycles Day! A great day to remind us of just how important recycling is to our environment. Look around you – the disposable coffee cup you’re drinking out of, the newspaper on your coffee table, even the ceilings and walls that make up the rooms in your house – it’s all made, at least in part, with recycled materials!

Sadly, only 34.3% of our nation’s waste gets recycled. This means more and more trash fill our landfills, pollute our waterways, and litter our streets. An easy way to help pitch in is to think about what can be recycled throughout your home.

For example, think about your workspace. You could recycle almost all of the paper you use or sort through such as letters, notes, and catalogs. Did you know every ton of paper that gets recycled:

  • Saves 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space
  • Saves 9 barrels of oil
  • Saves 4,100 kWh (kilowatt hours) of energy
  • Saves 7,000 gallons of water
  • Saves 17 trees
  • Saves 54 million BTU’s of energy

Surprising, isn’t it?

It’s important to underline that recycling can go farther than just placing recyclables into your recycling can. What about items that are a little harder to recyclable or cannot be recycled at all? Get creative, make art! You’ll be surprised at what you can create with objects that normally would find thier fate in the landfill. (Click the link to get some ideas!)

Challenge yourself to recycle more! Check out the infographic below to find the top 10 things to recycle in your home!

Top 10 Things To Recycle In Your Home

Top 10 Things To Recycle In Your Home

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