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Podcast: In Depth with Ian Austin – Should infants consume cannabis oil to treat medical conditions?

As a two-year-old epileptic, Kyla Williams suffers up to 200 seizures a day.<p>Her Summerland family was told there was no medical solution, but they …

This Tap Saves Water by Creating Incredible Patterns

It uses 15 percent less water than your boring old tap.<p>This new tap concept sends water through a double turbine, creating the most incredible …

New Hypothesis Suggests Dark Matter Wiped Out The Dinosaurs

In fact, it could be to blame for ALL our mass extinctions.<p>A mind-blowing new paper suggests that dark matter could have triggered not just the …

Astronomers Spot Star Leaving Milky Way At 2.7 Million Miles Per Hour

A star named US 708 has been spotted leaving our galaxy at 4.3 million kilometers an hour (2.7 million mph), the fastest exit speed ever observed. US …

New Studies Fail To Find Associations Between Psychedelic Drugs And Mental Health Problems

Despite the continued widespread dogma and fears surrounding their use, studies have failed to find evidence that psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and …

What A Jelly Bean Can Teach Us About Protecting The Environment When I reached for this jelly bean, I was just looking for a sweet treat, not a lesson in environmental impact. But you just never know where you’ll learn something, eh? According to research released last month in the journal Science, 8 MILLION TONS of plastic waste makes its way into our oceans every year (based on 2010 numbers). That’s the equivalent of five plastic grocery bags for every foot of coastline on Earth. Let that sink in for a moment. Eight million tons. This isn’t plastic that’s simply being thrown out the window by uncaring, wasteful Littery McLittersons. This is plastic that is escaping from our landfill and waste collection system, the very system designed to collect trash and keep it out of the ocean. People are trying to be good citizens, and that much is still making its way into ocean ecosystems. It’s enough to make a person go play inside a dry cleaning bag. Marine plastic pollution is a serious problem. As it is broken down by sunlight into smaller bits, plastic debris can resemble plankton and be ingested by filter feeders like whales. And seabirds are regularly found dead, bellies burst with flotsam ranging from cigarette lighters to bottle caps to fishing lures. (This bird finished its life more plastic than albatross. Sad photo by Chris Jordan) Knowing this, you can understand why I was shocked when this week I saw a jar of individually wrapped Jelly Belly jelly beans at a store here in Austin. That’s a picture of it up there (yes, it’s black licorice flavored, because that’s the best flavor). Now, from an enjoyment/annoyance standpoint, M&Ms and Pez might be the only products on Earth less appropriate for individual wrapping. But from an “environmentally conscious company” standpoint, I couldn’t help but think this is just the worst. So I posted that photo to the Jelly Belly Facebook page with a question attached: and I tweeted the picture to Jelly Belly UK (they’re a US company, but they don’t have a US Twitter account): This hit a nerve, apparently. A flurry of retweets, likes, and comments began to flow in. My hope was that rather than a petroleum-based plastic, the ubiquitous polymer concoctions used in everything from sandwich bags to water bottles to K-cups that are likely to stick around, mostly intact, for the next 50-500 years, that the Jelly Belly wrapper I held in my hand was instead made of cellophane, a plant-based biodegradable material. Fingers crossed. Thanks to the social media response from all of you, Jelly Belly took notice, and yesterday I had a very pleasant phone conversation with their director of communications. I have good news, and I have bad news. The bad news: I have now verified that these wrappers are definitely made of petroleum-based plastic, cut into pieces that seem to be the perfect size to slip through the cracks of our landfill system and be gobbled up by ocean species. The good news: Jelly Belly is aware of this, they feel bad about it, and they are actively looking for a different wrapper that is both biodegradable and that will still deliver fresh, jelly bean goodness to the world’s candy-lovers. So will they be replacing these plastic wrappers with magic, space-age bioplastic? No. Sadly, that wonder-material doesn’t currently exist. These sorts of food wrappers have to do certain things like keep humidity out and keep all those delicious flavors and aromas in, and the biodegradable ones don’t do that. Jelly Belly told me that their product people (and the product people from hundreds of other companies in the same position) scour trade shows and engineering fairs every year looking for biodegradable plastics, searching for that magical combination. When they test what they find? Frankly, these eco-friendly plastics suck as packaging materials. Doesn’t matter if the bag is biodegradable, nobody wants a gooey, disintegrated, flavorless jelly bean, or breath mint, or candy bar, or bag of pretzels. And this is the real conflict. As consumers, we demand these products be available in vending machines and candy jars and store shelves in convenient, single serving sizes, tasting great and staying fresh no matter when or where we want them, whether we’re unwrapping them in South Austin or on the South Pole. Companies like Jelly Belly and countless others whose plastics end up clogging our seas and poisoning Earth’s ecosystems are providing what we ask for. Now I don’t want to let those companies completely off the hook. According to Jelly Belly, these single-dose beans amount for less than 1% of their total bean tally, but if that’s the case then why not eliminate them altogether? It won’t have much of an effect on your bottom line. I mean, we all remember what Uncle Ben said, right? Ultimately though, a great deal of that responsibility lies with you and me. It’s up to us to demand that these companies change their ways. Ask yourself if convenience is more important to you than taking care of the environment. If you value the former, then that’s your choice. Enjoy those powdered donuts. But if you value the latter, then buy products that are packaged responsibly, and don’t buy things that aren’t. Tell these companies what you like and don’t like about the containers their products come in. It’s dollars and sense, it’s where economics meets science. I really believe they’ll work harder to change their ways if we make them. I’m very impressed that Jelly Belly was so open in talking to me about this. That tells me that they care. But I will remember it the next time I’m shopping for a treat. One final message to all of you aspiring chemists: Look at this as an opportunity. Companies like Jelly Belly are looking for ways to deliver delicious bean-shaped candies without ruining the environment. Science hasn’t given them what they need to do so… yet. Maybe you’ll be the one to change that. PS - Black jelly beans 4 lyfe.

<b>What A Jelly Bean Can Teach Us About Protecting The Environment</b><p>When I reached for this jelly bean, I was just looking for a sweet treat, not a lesson …

This strip cedar canoe was built as a school project by these two students. Great job guys!

A great addition to the workshop. Work bench with lower storage.

NASA Finds Likely Source of Mars Rover Curiosity's Short Circuit

The short circuit that has stalled some of the science work by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity apparently originated in the robot's rock-boring drill, …

Google researchers work around Quantum Computing errors

Quantum computers can solve problems that would take an ordinary computer millions of years to complete. It would take not thousands, but millions of …

Daily Diary Reveals How Cannabis Use Affects People With Bipolar

Rates of substance use are higher in people with mental health problems compared to the general population and particularly in people with bipolar …

Mental Health

6 Reasons to Upgrade to RebelMouse from WordPress

The huge gap between current CMS offerings and what the world needed occurred to me during my time as CTO of The Huffington Post. When we were …

No Big Bang? New Equation Suggests Eternal Universe

<b>It’s important to remember that the Big Bang Theory is just that – a theory.</b><p>A new quantum equation developed by Ahmed Farag Ali and Saurya Das, from …

Chemist Develop “Looking Glass” for Spotting Sound Molecular Structures

New York University chemists have developed a computational approach for determining the viability and suitability of complex molecular structures—an …

Medical marijuana applicant takes Health Canada to court

Health Canada’s troubled medical-marijuana program is again under fire, with the launch of the first court challenge by a company denied a government …

Health Canada Criticized By Police Over Medical Marijuana Enforcement, Documents Show

Health Canada was flooded with hundreds of letters from police and other officials questioning the department’s oversight of Canada’s medical …

Breakthrough in energy harvesting could power life on Mars

One of the co-authors of Northumbria's research, Dr Rodrigo Ledesma-Aguilar, said: "Carbon dioxide plays a similar role on Mars as water does on …

Your Brain On LSD

For some people, they’re the recipe for one heck of a party. For others, they’re dangerous, one-way tickets to trouble that deserve their illegal …

For more funny science, get the AsapSCIENCE book! [SeeMikeDraw]

Ancient Mass Grave Discovered Under a Supermarket in Paris

Now researchers just have to figure out what killed them all.<p>Organised rows of more than 200 skeletons have been found in a communal grave under a …

Mississauga moves to regulate marijuana | The Star

“And it allows us to determine where they are located. Obviously you don’t want these in residential areas or near schools. Through the bylaw we will …

Why I changed my mind about medicinal cannabis | Hugh Hempel | TEDxUniversityofNevada

Making peace with cannabis | Zachary Walsh | TEDxPenticton

New Study Finds Marijuana Safer Than Alcohol Or Tobacco

Using a novel method to measure the risk of mortality associated with the use of various legal and illegal drugs, scientists have confirmed what …

New Study Finds Daily Marijuana Use Is Not Associated With Brain Abnormalities

Several recent studies have suggested that smoking marijuana is associated with physical changes in certain regions of the brain, both in terms of …

What Do Tree Rings Sound Like When Played Like A Record?

We all know that the Lorax speaks for the trees, but what do they sound like when they speak for themselves?<p>Rings on a tree can give information …

Scientists Find Direct Evidence That Atmospheric CO2 Heats Earth’s Crust

When scientists discuss increasing levels of carbon dioxide, they are generally referring to carbon that either stays in the atmosphere where it has …

A DNA Hard Drive Has Been Built That Can Store Data For 1 MILLION Years

Scientists have found a way to preserve the world's data for millions of years, by storing it on a tiny strand of DNA preserved in glass.<p>When you …