Each year, the farmers around the world who produce our food (fruits, vegetables, grains) get the equivalent of a “grade” on a giant “group project.”   For 2014 they got another A+ as they have for many years.  The “test” entails thousands of food samples, which the USDA collects from normal US food channels and then scrutinizes for pesticide residues using extremely sensitive laboratory testing methods.

Synthetic cathinones which produce effects similar to amphetamines and have been associated with numerous fatalities are derived from cathinone, which is present in the khat plant.

Only supplement makers and buyers think if it happens in nature it must be okay, but the U.S.  Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)  has a hard time keeping up. They can only ban specific  synthetic cathinones, and did in 2011, but change a molecule and new designer drugs continue to appear, and they aren't banned because they are different.

Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are a group of environmental contaminants that were banned in industrialized countries decades ago, but sut since they accumulate through the food chain and remain for a very long time in the human body, especially adipose tissue, they can still be found in a majority of people in most countries.

The most commonly known of these compounds is the pesticide DDT, which has gotten  a renewed look due to mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus.  Though DDT was banned in the US due to public concern, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows countries with mosquitoes related to malaria - which also carry Zika - how to effectively spray DDT inside homes.

Though wealthy elites and fad-chasing food activists have promoted the idea that salt is a killer, the science doesn't show that. Instead, links are correlational. Asia has always been held up as a standard for health but as their incidence of hypertension has risen, as many have blamed salt as they have a diet beyond what peasants could afford in the past.

Scientists have inventoried and categorized all of Earth's rare mineral species described to date, each sampled from five or fewer sites around the globe. Individually, several of the species have a known supply worldwide smaller than a sugar cube.

These 2,550 minerals are far more rare than pricey diamonds and gems usually presented as tokens of love. But while their rarity would logically make them the most precious of minerals, many would not work in a Valentine's Day ring setting. Several are prone to melt, evaporate or dehydrate. And a few, vampire-like, gradually decompose on exposure to sunlight.

Fibres from the Australian native spinifex grass are being used to improve latex that could be used to make condoms as thin as a human hair without any loss in strength.

Working in partnership with Aboriginal traditional owners of the Camooweal region in north-west Queensland, the Indjalandji-Dhidhanu People, researchers from The University of Queensland have developed a method of extracting nanocellulose -- which can be used as an additive in latex production -- from the grass.

Professor Darren Martin from UQ's Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) said the spinifex nanocellulose significantly improved the physical properties of latex.

It may be time to embrace DDT again. New findings from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) confirm dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine, the first-line treatment for Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection in Cambodia, has failed in certain provinces due to parasite resistance to artemisinin and piperaquine.

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death. Patients with type 1 diabetes have their insulin secreting cells destroyed by the immune system and require daily insulin injections. Pancreatic islet transplantation is an effective treatment that can dramatically reduce daily doses or even eliminate dependence on external insulin. Insulin producing cells are injected into a recipient liver and after an adaptation period they start to produce sufficient hormone needed by diabetic patients.

Groundwater in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Vietnam and China commonly contains concentrations of arsenic 20 to 100 times greater than the World Health Organization's recommended limit, resulting in more than 100 million people being poisoned by drinking arsenic-laced water. Now scientists have found where the microbes responsible for releasing dangerous arsenic into groundwater in Southeast Asia get their food.