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Category: Chemical Stew

Organic Chemistry is not your friend

Meringue: more fun with egg science

Meringue: more fun with egg science

Another way to cook eggs We’ve discussed one well-known way to cook eggs before. (Repeatedly!, In scientific detail!) As a quick guest post, I thought I’d mention a somewhat more exotic way to cook eggs – meringue. What’s a meringue? In its simplest form, a meringue is simply egg-whites with sugar, whipped into a foam and baked gently until it hardens. The end result can take a range of forms. It can be a squishy, wet foam like the top…

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Eggs, Zombies, and Cholesterol

Eggs, Zombies, and Cholesterol

Today’s topic is cholesterol by an invited author. | This is the short daily Merry Blogmas science post for December 20. CHOLESTEROL IN EGGS AND OTHER FOODS Since we’ve been discussing eggs, here’s another egg-related topic you’ve probably heard of. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that’s generally considered a problem: High amounts of it in the bloodstream are associated with potentially fatal heart disease. It also makes up a large part of gallstones. Paradoxically, cholesterol is absolutely vital to human life. It…

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The Element Named for Soap

The Element Named for Soap

This is the Merry Blogmas short science post for December 16, 2017 | If you make your own soap or do a lot of gardening, you probably know where this is going. Many of the oldest element names come from Medieval words like nitrogen from natron or sodium from soda. Some have kept their old names like sulfur. Some have names whose Medieval origins are lost to us like antimony. While the roots of most element names are rather mundane,…

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The Food Science of Hard-Boiled Eggs – Part III

The Food Science of Hard-Boiled Eggs – Part III

There are way too many variations out there on how to cook and peel a hard-boiled egg. Many of them are just plain bunk. The truth is that there are several different paths to cooking the perfect hard-boiled egg. Our goal here is to show you the science behind boiling an egg because if you understand the science, you will then know what to do to achieve that perfect egg and peel it too! In PART I, we looked at the…

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Merry Blogmas for December 9: DNA and Yellowstone

Merry Blogmas for December 9: DNA and Yellowstone

We continue  today with our daily “Merry Blogmas” posts on fun bite-sized science topics, which will run until Christmas. THE BIRTHPLACE OF DNA FINGERPRINTING BY THE PCR METHOD The banner image today (above) is a photograph of Octopus Spring in the Lower Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park. If this spring was anywhere else, there would probably be a shrine here for this is the birthplace of modern “cheap and easy” DNA profiling. If you didn’t know Octopus Spring existed,…

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Merry Blogmas for December 7: Saccharin and Cancer

Merry Blogmas for December 7: Saccharin and Cancer

We continue  today with our daily “Merry Blogmas” posts on fun bite-sized science topics, which will run until Christmas. SACCHARIN IS NOT A KNOWN, PROBABLY, OR POSSIBLE CARCINOGEN If you pay attention to the news, that statement shouldn’t come as a shock. Unfortunately, because of the great saccharin scare of the 1970s, there are still people who think that saccharin causes cancer. Here’s how saccharin got its bad rep: There were some studies done in the 1970s where male laboratory…

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Merry Blogmas for December 5: Collagen-Based Glue

Merry Blogmas for December 5: Collagen-Based Glue

Today continues our daily Merry Blogmas 2017 posts of short science-lite articles for Dec. 1 through Christmas. Hide Glue and Other Collagen-Based Glues Collagen is the principle protein in the bone, muscle and skin tissues of mammals and certain fish. It is made up of fibrous strands of polypeptides, which is the same as saying that collagen is made up of long mostly-straight chains of linked amino acids. Collagen-based glues include those made from: animal hides animal hooves of animals fish skin…

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Merry Blogmas for December 4: Sulfur

Merry Blogmas for December 4: Sulfur

We continue  today with our daily “Merry Blogmas” posts on fun bite-sized science topics, which will run until Christmas. SULFUR Sulfur is one of the coolest elements going. It’s also on the smelliest things on the planet. It stinks enough that I included it in the article I wrote for listverse.com on 10 rocks that stink. Sulfur has some really cool properties. It’s a soft yellow mineral that can be set on fire. It burns with a blue flame. While…

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The Food Science of Hard-Boiled Eggs – Part I

The Food Science of Hard-Boiled Eggs – Part I

There are three parts to the science of hard-boiled eggs: the physical chemistry of boiling water, the biochemistry of eggs, and the science of cooking eggs. We will look at them in that order over the next three Sundays. Today in part I, we will look at the science of boiling water. Have you been adding salt to the water you use to boil your eggs? I’ll show you why you probably may want to stop wasting your salt… THE…

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The Phytochemical that Launched a Thousand Ships – Part II

The Phytochemical that Launched a Thousand Ships – Part II

THE PHYTOCHEMICAL THAT LAUNCHED A THOUSAND SHIPS – PART II Our phytochemical of interest, piperine, is the active ingredient in Old World pepper and the plants of the Piper genus. Its history and background were discussed last week here. Compared to last week, this week’s post might not seem as spicy but I hope I can pepper it up a bit. Piperine is (2E,4E)-5-(2H-1,3-Benzodioxol-5-yl)-1-(piperidin-1-yl)penta-2,4-dien-1-one: a compound name only an organic chemist could love. It’s more succinctly known as C17H19NO3, a name that unfortunately…

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