Questions tagged [chemistry]

The science of matter and the changes it can undergo.

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122
votes
5answers
23k views

Do atoms exist?

There are plenty of examples of people doubting ([1], [2], [3], [4], [5]) or denying ([6], [7], [8]) the existence of atoms. Is there any compelling evidence for the existence of atoms? Has anyone ...
111
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5answers
21k views

Are 19.6 pounds of CO2 produced from burning a gallon of gasoline?

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, About 19.6 pounds [8.89 kg] of CO2 are produced from burning a gallon of gasoline that does not contain fuel ethanol. About 12.7 pounds [5....
62
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2answers
7k views

Are old glass panes thicker on the bottom due to “flow”?

I ran into this common belief today, and was surprised that it has not been addressed here before. I think this belief is common enough that most anyone has heard it. Especially if they are touring ...
41
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3answers
3k views

Is monosodium glutamate (MSG) bad for you?

Anecdotal evidence blames the consumption of MSG for several symptoms such as headache, nausea, weakness, heart palpitations etc. Most migraine literature cites MSG as a potential trigger (example) ...
38
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2answers
38k views

Can you recharge non-rechargeable alkaline batteries?

There are conflicting reports of whether it is possible to safely recharge alkaline batteries (not lithium) that are not sold as rechargable. The packaging for batteries regularly has cautions ...
35
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2answers
492k views

Is CPH4 from science fiction movie 'Lucy' real?

In the science-fiction film Lucy, the titular character takes a drug called CPH4 that increases her brain capacity. The writer and director of the film, Luc Besson, claims in several interviews that ...
34
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4answers
6k views

Is warm water more effective than cold water for washing one's hands?

When washing my hands, I was always told to use warm soapy water. However, is there any chemical or biological reason why warm soapy water is more effective to cold soapy water when trying to ...
34
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2answers
40k views

Do magnetic water softeners work?

I'm extremely skeptical of the idea of magnetic water softeners (strong magnets attached to pipes), but desperately wish it were true because I hate lugging 40# bags of salt out to my well house in ...
33
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2answers
6k views

Is alcohol for consumption tested for carbon-14 radioactivity to be considered legal?

I just viewed this interesting video about radioactive ethanol from plants as opposed to non-radioactive ethanol from crude oil. In it, the professor says he's heard it's illegal in the USA to sell ...
33
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2answers
7k views

Do emotionally-driven tears release toxins from the body?

Sometime ago I'd heard someone trained in child psychology claim that crying for emotional reasons (as opposed to getting something in your eye for example) released toxins from the brain and/or body. ...
30
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1answer
66k views

What happens when you mix Lysol and bleach?

My mother just forwarded an email to all her contacts (thanks, mom), warning us of the dangers of mixing Lysol and bleach together. Here's most the content, translated from French: Bleach and Lysol,...
30
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2answers
86k views

Does baking soda remove odors?

I have always been told that an open box of baking soda will "absorb" odors and make a fridge smell less. I have even seen people with three boxes in one fridge. My question is whether there is any ...
30
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2answers
33k views

Is biting a gold coin a working method to verify its authenticity?

Julia Murray & Kelsey Serwa In movies you commonly see treasure hunters, pirates, thieves, ... bite down on a gold coin to verify it's real gold. (Gold Medal winners often pose with the medal ...
29
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1answer
148k views

What is monoatomic gold?

Over the weekend I heard an acquaintance mention something called "monoatomic gold", followed by a bevy of fantastic and surprising claims about the substance, what it does, and how it was discovered. ...
29
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2answers
29k views

Is margarine “one molecule away from plastic”?

I've heard the claim that "Margarine is only one molecule away from being plastic" several times. Usually from friends who think they've heard it from some reliable source. I've also read a couple ...
28
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1answer
188k views

Does putting salt into a wound make the wound worse?

It's commonly believed that the idiom "rubbing salt into the wound" is derived from a literal action of making things worse. Wiktionary claims the literal act was done for torture: Derived from ...
26
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2answers
6k views

Are recent claims from India of a car fueled by water and calcium carbide legitimate?

Recently, I came across a video and a news report where it has been reported that a man from India has invented a car which uses water as a key fuel component. The car runs on acetylene gas produced ...
26
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1answer
6k views

Are some laundry detergents better than others?

As we were looking for laundry detergent yesterday, I noted that my wife was quite swayed by brand reputation/impressions than price. She stated that she didn't think one type of detergent really ...
25
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4answers
14k views

Is fluoride in water an industry waste product?

There are many claims made about the source of fluoride in our water, some examples are: Intentional dosing of municipal water supplies with fluoride waste products from industry Increased cancer ...
25
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1answer
7k views

Can you melt gold in a regular campfire?

As seen on Game of Thrones the TV series, some gold is melted in a regular campfire. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J74JEloKC3M Is this physically and chemically possible?
23
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1answer
3k views

Would drinking a glass of glyphosate be harmful

In an interview Dr. Patrick Moore claimed that: You can drink a whole quart of it and it won’t hurt you. He then declined the offer to drink a glass of the herbicide to prove his claim, saying: ...
23
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1answer
3k views

Does copy paper become “old and yellow”?

I have a part-time job at a place where printing, copying, scanning, faxing, and shredding happens every day. Thus, we have about two large cabinets with about 56 reams of paper (packs of 500 sheets) ...
23
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3answers
9k views

Can thunderstorms curdle milk?

When I was 13, my sister and I spent the summer on a dairy farm. We worked in the creamery, where (twice a day) we bottled fresh raw milk, as well as cleaned all the equipment. It was really a fun ...
23
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1answer
888 views

Does water bring out the flavor and aroma in scotch?

I've often heard that adding just a few drops of filtered, room termperature water to scotch helps to "bring out the flavor and the aroma." The scotch guy at my store told me it involves a chemical ...
23
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2answers
3k views

Do human pheromones exist?

Do humans secrete chemicals that attract the opposite sex? Some cheesy advertisements in magazines would make one believe pheromones exist. When's the last time you said "that girl/guy is butt ugly", ...
22
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3answers
14k views

Is sugar one element away from cocaine or any other drug?

I've heard multiple times through out my college and early work career that they believed sugar was one element away from being cocaine (or some other drug). However, none of these people had a ...
22
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1answer
5k views

Would a human's blood suddenly boil (or eyes/body explode) in a vacuum?

I was once given a question in the popular quiz-show game, You Don't Know Jack, that went something like: You find yourself suddenly ejected into space. Which of these gruesome things happens first? ...
22
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2answers
2k views

Is an ice-cream tub made of a single molecule?

Background In my answer to another question, I repeated a claim made to my class by my high school chemistry teacher. I didn't reference it, because the relevant FAQ suggests high school science can ...
21
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3answers
6k views

Has carbon dating indicated that live humans are 4000 years old?

A friend of mine told my wife that carbon dating is unreliable because it has been performed on live humans and indicated that the test subject(s) are 4000 years old. Is there any truth to this claim?...
21
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2answers
12k views

Is water calcification bad for your health?

I have a friend, who adamantly believes that water calcification causes a number of problems, including poor health. He also said it made the water taste disgusting. He had recently installed a ...
21
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2answers
1k views

Do harmful chemicals migrate from the container into the food if you microwave the food in a plastic container?

In a comment to the best answer to question 582, Muhd writes: "I would add that it is also unhealthy if you microwave in something that is not microwave safe as toxic chemicals could migrate into the ...
20
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1answer
16k views

Is Cesium-137 detectable in all wine bottled after the 1940's?

In the White Collar TV Episode Bottlenecked it was claimed that a test of all vintage wines bottled before the ABomb would not contain any Cesium-137 but wine bottled in the years since all contain ...
20
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1answer
19k views

Can table salt damage a dishwasher?

The manual for my dishwasher as well as the warning sign on a box of dishwasher salt says that you should never load food salt into the water softener because it will damage the ion exchanger. Given ...
19
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2answers
50k views

Can eating rhubarb kill you?

I've heard that rhubarb leaves are poisonous, and that you can even die from rhubarb poisoning. Is that true?
19
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1answer
3k views

Do airplanes release biological or chemical agents, forming trails?

Since the topic of the week is conspiracy theories, here's one that I've had re-iterated at me a few times. Supposedly these white stripes after airplanes is created by airplanes releasing biological ...
18
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1answer
2k views

Does lemon juice slow the oxidation of guacamole?

It is common belief that adding citrus juice (or in some claims, any acid, including ascorbic acid/vitamin C, vinegar, tomatoes, etc) to guacamole will reduce browning. Examples of the claim: ...
18
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1answer
2k views

Is the Coca-Cola recipe a secret?

Is the Coca-Cola recipe a secret? I would like to draw attention to the distinction between a recipe and composition: Composition: a list of all ingredients, including quantity/proportion. Recipe: ...
18
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1answer
33k views

Will fluoride and chlorine dissipate from tap water left to sit overnight?

One common recommendation for watering house plants with tap water is to allow the water to sit overnight before watering, so that the fluorine and chlorine that are commonly added to tap water (which ...
18
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1answer
6k views

Is tomato juice useful for removing skunk smell?

It's a common belief that you should use tomato juice to remove the smell after you get sprayed by a skunk. Does it work?
17
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1answer
4k views

Is indoor air pollution higher than outdoor air pollution?

I keep seeing these claims, for example The indoor air quality is worse than the outdoor air, even in the most industrialised cities. but I'd believe that air pollution levels are highly variable ...
17
votes
1answer
980 views

Is Roundup weed killer carcinogenic?

Monsanto have been found liable for the terminal cancer of a former groundskeeper exposed to glyphosate and other chemicals in their Roundup herbicidal product. On Friday, a California jury hit ...
16
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2answers
2k views

Are towers being built in China that can turn smog into diamonds?

This article about a new project that builds towers that can turn smog into diamonds makes some pretty incredible claims. It claims that: Towers intended to turn carbon in the air into diamonds have ...
16
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1answer
33k views

Can one use microfiber cloths and products to “clean without chemicals”?

There's a company called Norwex, started in Norway and now in other countries including Canada and the US, which claim its products "Clean without Chemicals": Our line of cleaning products will ...
15
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1answer
3k views

Did January 2014 American snowfall char and burn when exposed to fire?

This site, ‘Fake Snow’: Videos In Multiple States Show Strange Snow That Doesn’t Melt Normal, Burns, Smells of ‘Plastic’, shows several videos and images of people burning snow they collect from ...
15
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1answer
10k views

Is chlorine in water absorbed quickly through the skin?

I recently saw a demonstration of a water filtration and purification system. In one of the demos two glasses were filled with tap water and then someone put three fingers into one of the glasses and ...
15
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2answers
3k views

Is there formaldehyde in the glue of bamboo cutting boards? Is it dangerous?

Many purveyors of bamboo cutting boards make a point to advertise that the cutting board is made from formaldehyde-free glues. There seems to be fairly widespread advise to avoid formaldehyde in ...
14
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3answers
7k views

Man using “water as fuel” for a welding machine? (H₂O → “HHO”)?

I saw a while back a YouTube video that appears to show a news report of a man who patented technology to turn water into "HHO". The video makes some big claims — 161 km (100 mi.) on 0.1 L (4 ...
14
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2answers
21k views

Can you die by absorbing cyanide through the skin?

A friend of mine was talking about The Iceman, a killer that supposedly used cyanide absorbed through the skin as his murder weapon: Kuklinski favored the use of cyanide as it was quick kill poison,...
14
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1answer
2k views

Is testosterone responsible for typically “male” behaviour?

On the English Language and Usage stack exchange, two people asked what was meant by "testosterone-charged", as in the following quote, from the story "2 States: The Story of My Marriage" by Chetan ...
13
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4answers
12k views

Do apple seeds contain arsenic?

I've heard recently that apple seeds contain arsenic. Is this true? Should apples not be eaten then?