Most people are able to recognize the smell of “death” when they encounter a dead animal on a farm or a roadkill.

But despite its distinctive scent, few know why it actually smells the way it does. Even forensic scientists may not have identified all of the compounds behind it yet – they are still in the process.

Understanding the pattern of change of the chemicals that make up the scent during the process of decomposition could be of huge benefit to forensic science. Not only could it help determining the time of death of a victim, it could also lead to more scientifically rigorous training of cadaver dogs.

A new survey finds that how 40 percent of people function is a scientific mystery - because only 60 percent of people start their mornings with coffee.

This is baffling in a country where $18 billion annually is spent just on specialty coffees.

A recent paper suggests cooking with spices and herbs could close the 1,000 mg gap between the amount of sodium Americans actually consume on a daily basis and the amount recommended by the government Dietary Guidelines for Americans committee.  

In the study, researchers taught adults to flavor their food with spices and herbs instead of salt. At the end of the trial, the intervention group, who had tools including spices and herbs as well as cooking demonstrations, were able to reduce sodium intake by an average of 956.8 mg/day – which is about one-third of the average sodium adults consume each day.

On average, American adults consume 3,300 mg of sodium a day, which is 1,000 mg more than the 2,300 mg/d recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Men with higher exposure to diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), one of the phthalates, which is an umbrella term for a group of substances based on phthalic acid, have lower sperm motility and may therefore experience more difficulties conceiving children, according to a new paper.

Many phthalates are found in soft plastics in our daily surroundings: wallpaper, sandals, nail polish, perfume, floors, carpets and more. Some suspect  phthalates may be endocrine disruptors and since phthalate molecules leak out of plastics, we are exposed to it daily and absorb the chemicals through food, drink, skin contact and inhalation. Phthalate levels can be measured by a simple urine sample.  
The latest report card on Great Barrier Reef water quality shows signs of improvement, but the health of the marine environment close to the shore remains poor, driven by pollution runoff from the land.

Among the good news is that pollution levels in reef waters have declined in the past five years, and most pollutants seem to track towards the pollution reduction targets set for 2018.

PesticidesIt was Monday’s “big” health story, or so we were told.

According to CNN, there’s now an established link between the development of childhood cancers, primarily leukemia and lymphoma, and the use of pesticides.

Sounds scary, maybe even real. But does the science hold up? Maybe, maybe not.

Make that, probably not.

Individually, we use thousands of chemicals in our households and very few of us think about whether they are harming the environment. We often think about buying a “green” detergent to wash our clothes, but the simple act of shampooing and conditioning our hair, even with green products, results in more than 30 chemicals being washed into our sewers.

Despite our best efforts in the supermarket, our waste water treatment systems are well designed for removing most of these chemicals, as the majority are biodegradable. However, a number of household chemicals are difficult to remove and end up being discharged into our coastal environments and waterways.

Churning raw milk sufficiently creates butter. Squirting lemon juice coagulates it into curd. These two phenomena are not as straightforward as they sound on the molecular level.

When milk is churned, the fat molecules in it come closer to form aggregates. Lemon juice increases milk's acidity and creates similar molecular lumps. Yet butter and curd are not solids because in both cases, the aggregated molecules still maintain consistent distances from each other, behaving as if they are part of a liquid.

Next time you are in your local grocery store, step in to look a little more closely at the beer cooler. Amid the brightly colored, creative packaging lies the final battle for the ultimate goal – your purchases.

But, what battles were fought to get the beer to that particular cooler? More importantly, what might those battles say about larger trends in business today?

At Miami University’s Farmer School of Business, we designed an experiential class to go in depth with these issues, leveraging the lessons of the beer industries as a way to better understand larger trends in business strategy and supply chains.

What can the beer industry teach us?

Lightweight composite metal foams are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation, and are capable of absorbing the energy of high impact collisions, and a new finding means the metal foams hold promise for use in nuclear safety, space exploration and medical technology applications.

Researchers conducted multiple tests to see how effective it was at blocking X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation. She then compared the material's performance to the performance of bulk materials that are currently used in shielding applications. The comparison was made using samples of the same "areal" density - meaning that each sample had the same weight, but varied in volume.