In what might be a new breakthrough for the spider-control field, researchers have found that oil-based pesticides are more effective than water-based pesticides at killing the contents of brown widow spider egg sacs.

This finding is important because trying to control adult spiders without controlling their eggs is like plucking dandelions without taking out their roots.


This image shows a brown widow spider. Credit: Rick Vetter

Methane hydrates are a kind of ice that contains methane, and that
form at certain depths under the sea or buried in permafrost. They can also form in pipelines that transport oil and gas, leading to clogging. Yet methane hydrates are nearly impossible to study because it is very hard to get samples, and the samples themselves are highly unstable in the laboratory.

A team of scientists from Norway, China and the Netherlands has now shown how the size of grains of the molecules that make up the natural structure of methane hydrates determines how they behave if they are loaded with weight or disturbed.

In a new thesis, 60 garments from Swedish and international clothing chains have been tested and though around a hundred chemicals were preliminary identified, several of the substances were not on the producers' lists and are suspected to be by-products, residues or chemicals added during transport.

Dependent on occurrence, quantity, toxicity and how easily they may penetrate the skin, four groups of substances were chosen for further analysis. The highest concentrations of two of these, quinolines and aromatic amines, were found in polyester. Cotton contained high concentrations of benzothiazoles, even clothes made from organic cotton.

You’ve probably had subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, or even Netflix. Fairly recently the subscription box has emerged like Loot Crate, filled with Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Comic book themed T-shirts, mugs, minifigures and such. Now there’s a subscription box chemistry set from MEL Science.

“We have reinvented educational chemistry sets for kids,” says Vassili Philippov, CEO of Mel Science. “It includes chemical reagents for real experiments, a mobile app, and a virtual reality headset to let you visualize molecules in 3D.”

Processing fabric for the latest fashions and other textile-based products today requires thousands of chemicals, some of which are toxic and cause 20 percent of the world's water pollution. To reduce its environmental footprint, the textile industry is making changes, designing safer chemicals and turning to nature to find replacements to potentially harmful compounds, according to an article in Chemical&Engineering News.

The fishing port of Ondarroa, the Deba marina, the estuary at Gernika (beside the discharge stream of the waste water treatment plant) and the industrial ports of Pasaia and Santurtzi are the scenarios where the research was carried out between May and June 2012.

The fish chosen for the study was the thicklip grey mullet (Chelonlabrosus). Water samples were taken from the above-mentioned locations on the days when the mullet were caught and three months later to relate the samples to the concentrations of the compounds in the fish.

"As we expected, Gernika was where the highest concentration of compounds was found and where the highest number of intersex fish were caught," stressed Asier Vallejo, one of the researchers in the group.

Recent media stories have reported on two new scientific studies involving BPA’s effects on birth weight.  One study reported a statistical association between prenatal exposure to BPA and increased birth weight, while the other reported an association with decreased birth weight. 

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.