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Tuesday, July 7, 2020
The chemistry of cold-brew coffee is so hot right now

The chemistry of cold-brew coffee is so hot right now

Using chemistry to unlock the difference between cold- and hot-brew coffee, courtesy of the American Chemical Society. Cold-brew coffee is so hot right now, and not just with hipster consumers. Scientists at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have been taking a deeper look at the underlying chemistry to better understand how the cold-brew method alters…
We now know the effect of altitude on classic “Diet Coke and Mentos“ fountain

We now know the effect of altitude on classic “Diet Coke...

Enlarge / A well-coordinated Mentos-and-Diet-Coke explosion filmed in slow motion for The Slow Down Show in 2013. Back in 2006, Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz—the self described mad scientists behind Eepybird—ignited an Internet sensation with their viral video of an elaborate version of the Diet Coke and Mentos fountain experiment, recreating the choreography of the…
Beets bleed red but a chemistry tweak can create a blue hue

Beets bleed red but a chemistry tweak can create a blue...

Beet juice is red. Now chemists turned it blue. It might have potential for consumers like you. Natural colorings for food and cosmetics are in demand. Biology’s blue pigments, however, are tough to bottle. The brilliant blues of jaybirds, butterflies and dragonflies are a consequence of light scattering, so there’s no pigment to isolate (SN:…
Thirdhand smoke wafting off moviegoers hurts air quality in theaters

Thirdhand smoke wafting off moviegoers hurts air quality in theaters

“Nonsmoking” doesn’t necessarily mean smoke-free. A new experiment monitoring airborne contaminants inside a nonsmoking theater indicates that hazardous cigarette fumes wafting off moviegoers can degrade air quality. Those pollutants include the carcinogen benzene (SN: 4/26/13) and toxic aldehydes, such as acrolein, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde (SN: 7/27/16). Such thirdhand smoke, released from tobacco residue on people’s…
Evaporating mixtures of two liquids create hypnotic designs

Evaporating mixtures of two liquids create hypnotic designs

When liquids containing small particles evaporate, those fluids often leave behind fingerprints like coffee rings or whiskey webs (SN: 10/31/19). But liquids mixed with other liquids leave their own distinct residue patterns. An evaporating droplet that contains two fluids can sprout fingerlike protrusions or a chain of smaller droplets around its edge, depending on the…
A neural network picks promising antibiotics out of a library of chemicals

A neural network picks promising antibiotics out of a library of...

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Enlarge / Here, have some antibiotics. Biochemists have had some success at designing drugs to match specific targets. But much of drug development remains an arduous grind, screening hundreds to thousands of chemicals for a "hit" that has the effect you're looking for. There have been several attempts to perform this grind in silico, using…
Planned nuclear storage material could decay faster than expected

Planned nuclear storage material could decay faster than expected

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Enlarge / Waste in a temporary storage facility. A number of countries, including the United States, has been planning for long-term storage of nuclear wastes. While many of these nations plan to keep the waste isolated from water, that's not something that can be guaranteed over the extremely long lifespans of the waste. If water…
How to brew a better espresso, according to science

How to brew a better espresso, according to science

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New research challenges conventional wisdom that brewing a strong shot of espresso requires very finely ground coffee beans. Well-ground beans typically are thought to be best for making strong shots because smaller grounds dissolve more readily, while water flows through such grounds more slowly — allowing more time for the water to soak up coffee.…
A dance of two atoms reveals chemical bonds forming and breaking

A dance of two atoms reveals chemical bonds forming and breaking

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Scientists have now captured video of the intimate dance of two atoms as they bond with one another, break apart and come back together again. In a sequence of images from an electron microscope, two atoms of the metal rhenium, bound together to create a molecule, shimmied around one another, moving closer and then farther…
Will lithium-sulfur batteries be in our future?

Will lithium-sulfur batteries be in our future?

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Monash University Associate Professor Matthew Hill, Dr. Mahdokht Shaibani, and Professor Mainak Majumder with the lithium-sulphur battery design.Monash University The name "lithium-ion battery" seems to imply that lithium is the essential ingredient that dictates the battery's performance characteristics. But that's less true than it appears. The electrodes that the lithium shuttles between are critical for…

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