Chemistry

A new study has found that found that flavonoid levels and antioxidant activity in organic onions are higher than in conventional onions, which disputes a meta-analysis which debunked claims by discredited industry-funded economist Dr. Chuck Benbrook and colleagues who asserted that the organic process led to higher nutritional quality.

The new paper did find just that, though the benefit may be meaningless. Antioxidants and flavonoids have yet to show any measurable health benefit, but the demographic that buys organic food is more likely to buy those kinds of supplements touting benefits of phytochemicals. 
Formaldehyde sounds scary because it is for dead bodies. But it is also produced in our natural cellular respiration. Clearly "the dose makes the embalming fluid" but groups who want to scare people about diet soda whisper about its presence. And it is present, in levels that will be carcinogenic if you drink 7,000 sodas per day. More recently its presence in nicotine vaping liquid was being touted.
A new paper reports the development of nanoparticles that mimic the behavior of natural melanosomes, melanin-producing cell structures that protect our skin, eyes and other tissues from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation.
Thiamethoxam is a compound in the class of targeted pesticides known as "neonicotinoids", because they are chemically similar to nicotine, which has natural insect repellent properties.

Neonicotinoids are used in crops such as corn, soybeans and cotton and have been controversial because of environmental campaigns claiming a "colony collapse disorder" was caused by them. Yet bee numbers have not declined so concern has migrated to wild bee populations and sub-lethal effects - bees not killed but changed. These two arguments are easier to maintain because there is no way to count wild bees, only a few species even have hives, and therefore one guess is as good as another. Sub-lethal effects could also mean anything - like the ability to fly.
In the late 2000s, after natural gas uptake caused American carbon dioxide emissions to plummet, panicked environmentalists began to scramble for new ways to campaign on ending so-called fossil fuels. Methane, with 23X the warming power of CO2, was ideal, but they had just spent a decade insisting methane could explain increased warming, because it did not persist long enough.

And it would have started long before then, if the methane were linked to global warming by frozen tundra melting and releasing its methane. But it wasn't detected.
ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, has released findings from its Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) which concluded that glyphosate (e.g. Roundup, by the agriculture company Monsanto, though it's been off-patent for 17 years) is not a carcinogen, nor is it a mutagen, nor is it toxic for reproduction.

We frequently see a contrast drawn between what is “natural” and what is “chemical.” Sometimes products are described as “chemical-free” even though every physical object is made of chemicals.

As much as this suggests a problem with our science education, it speaks to a missed opportunity for wonder. Nature is not some sort of cosmic mother figure; on the contrary, nature is composed of diverse biological and physical processes, including some pretty amazing examples of chemistry continually taking place.

Holy grail -againAfter being only theorized for 80 years, Harvard scientists claim they have succeeded in creating the rarest - and potentially one of the most valuable - materials on the planet.
In computer science, the classic Turing test evaluates a machine's ability to mimic human behavior, and therefore is a measure of determining how close a machine can come to artificial intelligence. To pass, a computer must fool the tester into thinking it is human -- typically through the use of questions and answers.

What about for single-celled organisms? They can't communicate with words but they still communicate, and that means the search is on to create artificial ones that do just. IN ACS Central Science, researchers demonstrate that certain artificial cells can pass a basic laboratory Turing test by 'talking' chemically with living bacterial cells.

A new environmental claim about endocrine disruptors would seem to be an early Christmas gift for the fundraisers and lawyers at the Environmental Working Group and NRDC but the scientist employed at each of those groups likely feels a little dread.

Because the new endocrine disruptor is salt, and despite the perennially low quality science that dribbles from their websites, even they must realize how stupid it looks. Maybe even enough worry that remotely inquisitive individuals might wonder, "Hmm. Salt is disrupting my 'endocrines?' Huh?? Maybe the other endocrine stuff they write about is garbage too."