Chemistry

Does the world need another sweetener? With debates raging over cane sugar, corn sugar, beet sugar, raw sugar, and numerous zero-calorie alternatives to sugar, new products would seem to be just another thing for Center for Science in the Public Interest to manufacture lawsuits about.

The debate may be why Brazzein, from the fruit of the West African Pentadiplandra brazzeana plant, never got any commercial traction despite being 2,000 times sweeter than sucrose but with zero calories. It's not a sugar at all, it's a protein. For 25 years it's remained a novelty. (1)

Modified bacteria may be the key
In Science Left Behind I showed that in America it was easy to accurately correlate beliefs about science to political viewpoints. If you believed in psychics, witchcraft, organic food or homeopathy, statistically I could be determine how you voted. If you believed in GMOs and vaccines I also knew how you voted. 

But everyone hates the word "chemical."

That is why it is fertile ground for scaremongering. As soon as you use the word chemical, people are scared, and if you throw the word "toxic" in front of it, like activist academics and $2 billion per year in environmental groups do, dollar signs are sure to follow.  
Marta Venier, an environmentalist at Indiana University, recently teamed up with a Michigan activist group to "test" car seats and declared they had toxic chemicals.

Obviously that is media clickbait but if you are reading here, you want to know science truth and will leave the fake news to Mother Jones. So let's get to it

In 2018, we can detect anything in anything
In 2017, action star Chuck Norris and his wife Gena sued 11 companies for $10 million over gadolinium used in her MRIs, stating she was poisoned by the contrast agent.
Mommy shaming and chemophobia have long found common cause when it comes to the cosmetics industry.

Though mercenary, it is understandable why companies that make labels "certifying" something safe, and activists raising money touting our doom, prey on expectant parents; they are easy targets. Being a new parent is scary. Books are basically useless and 'better safe than sorry' is a well-worn cliché.
Dr. Jane Goodall is in a panic about GMOs and all of modern agriculture. What isn't plagiarized in her screeds about food is a mishmash of conjecture, anti-science mysticism, and lack of a clue about biology. She is not alone in losing her mind a bit with age. Dr. Linus Pauling became obsessed with Vitamin C as he aged, his claim that high doses would cure a cold is still promoted by supplement salespeople today. Dr.

Environmental trial lawyers are thrilled that the politically friendly 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California

In the 1980s, environmentalists and epidemiologists began to statistically correlate attention problems in children and lower scores on tests with flame retardants used in furniture, chemicals that had become popular because parents and fire departments wanted to prevent "flashover" events during house fires - explosions in closed rooms.

Coffee is the official drink of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), so much so that a new study finds that it's downright Pavlovian. Even the smell of coffee boosts numerical performance. 

In their experiment, scholars administered a 10-question Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT - the analytical portion of a computer adaptive test required by many graduate schools) in a computer lab to about 100 undergraduate business students, divided into two groups. One group took the test in the presence of an ambient coffee-like scent, while a control group took the same test - but in an unscented room.
Nature is not just out to kill us, it is out to kill itself, in the interest of surviving over the long term. That is why even the most wholesome backyard organic garden is a hotbed of combat between plants and unseen microorganisms in the soil fighting for space to grow.

To defeat a plant, a microbe might produce and use toxic chemicals - but then the microbe also needs immunity from its own poisons. The genes that create protective shield in microorganisms could become a new, highly effective weed killer and the first new class of commercial herbicides in more than 30 years.