273

This is directly addressed by the US Department of Energy at FuelEconomy.gov: It seems impossible that a gallon of gasoline, which weighs about 6.3 pounds [2.9 kg], could produce 20 pounds [9.1 kg] of carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned. However, most of the weight of the CO2 doesn't come from the gasoline itself, but the oxygen in the air. [...] ...


227

Atoms are too small to see with microscopes that rely on light (also due to problems such as the Abbe diffraction limit). Essentially, with a conventional microscope you cannot distinguish points that are too close. Even the recently introduced superresolution microscopes, which can surpass this limit, are still not able to image single atoms (they can, ...


101

No discussion of atoms would be complete without mentioning Brownian motion. Brownian motion is the strange, seemingly random movement of small particles (like dust) when suspended in a fluid. This phenomenon went unexplained for almost 80 years, until Einstein published a paper in 1905 (the same year he published his paper on the special theory of ...


92

The English abstract of Zur Frage der Aminosäureisomerisierung im Mikrowellenfeld Ergebnisse eines Modellversuches mit Standardlösungen [The question of amino acid isomerization in a microwave field Results of experiments with standard solutions] Zeitschrift für Ernährungswissenschaft September 1992, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 219–224 is: Aqueous standard-...


58

Yes atoms undoubtedly exist. I also had the doubt a few years back - are they real-real or just abstractions? - until the following, interesting and very convincing peer-reviewed literature on the topic came out! D.M. Eigler, E.K. Schweizer. Positioning single atoms with a scanning tunneling microscope. Nature 344, 524-526 (1990). Here we report the use ...


57

The car does not run on water. The article you link says quite clearly that "The car runs on acetylene gas". Acetylene is an explosive gas that is used for welding, and before the invention of electric lamps it was used for lighting. It is produced from the reaction of calcium carbide and water, as follows: CaC2 + 2H2O → Ca(OH)2 + C2H2 The problem is ...


51

A lot of people hear that glass is a liquid when they hear about this particular misconception. Actually it is probably better to describe glass as an amorphous solid. Any variation in thickness comes strictly from manufacturing processes. Molten glass is gathered on a blowpipe, and blown to an elongated balloon shape . The ends are cut off and the ...


45

The use of Carbon-14 for dating is not completely precise. In general, 500 years is the minimum and 50,000 years is the maximum due to the need to calibrate for background C-14 levels, and to have sufficient breakdown to establish the half-life proportions but not so much that the sample is too small to measure. That said, they're using Carbon-14 dating on ...


44

First of all I will assume that by sugar we mean sucrose, which is the common table sugar. Here is the structural formula for sucrose: Source: Wikipedia - Sucrose If you are not familiar with chemical structures for organic compounds, note that every "corner" in a chemical structure like this is considered to be a carbon atom (C), even if it is not ...


42

The technology he demonstrates for welding is well known and understood (see this patent from 1962), and is generally called an oxyhydrogen electrolytic torch or water torch. Water is decomposed into Oxygen and Hydrogen on demand. This has some benefits in difficult environments (e.g. underwater) and others where you wouldn't want to have cylinders of ...


34

One of the slashdot comments points to a NASA article originally from 1997 which tells you not to hold your breath and then says in summary, theory predicts -- and animal experiments confirm -- that otherwise, exposure to vacuum causes no immediate injury. You do not explode. Your blood does not boil. You do not freeze. You do not instantly lose ...


30

While it is of course almost impossible to debunk a conspiracy theory (there is always a counter-rebuttal if you don't mind how improbable you get) here are a few points that would clearly indicate the ridiculousness of the idea. Contrails predate the jet age. High-flying aircraft of both sides in WW2 left them; if they were truly sprays of mind-control ...


28

This answer provides an example on how to address this question by citing basic science. Please ignore any voting on it. I won't perform any calculation here as they are not on topic on Skeptics, but the confusion seems to arise from the fact that in combustion a fuel (in this case, gasoline) and an oxidant (in this case, oxygen in the air) combine to ...


24

"One element away" is pretty much nonsense, and there are lots of kinds of sugar. Let's ask a more targeted question: Are some sugars closely related chemically to cocaine or any other drug? Yes, but it's not cocaine. It's the most commonly used recreational drug, alcohol. Ethanol, the alcohol in beverages, is H H | | H - ...


23

The answer is NO, but the question is poorly formed and we have to interpret it to get anything like a reasonable answer The other answers have already addressed why a simple interpretation of "one molecule away from" doesn't make much chemical sense. But if we generously interpret the intent of the question in a way that makes chemical sense as something ...


23

I'm guessing it's based on the paper From the mass of the neutrino to the dating of wine from scientists at the Centre Etudes Nucléaires de Bordeaux Gradignan: This technique has therefore led to the possibility to date the wine bottles having vintage between 1950 and 1980 or at least to control the year written on the label or on the cork. Furthermore, ...


23

I love this question, because, until now, I never doubted lemon juice worked. I love this answer, because it surprised me even more than the question. Yes... and No! Lemon juice may make things better or worse. It depends on the avocado! Ascorbic acid works though. R. P. Bates, THE RETARDATION OF ENZYMATIC BROWNING IN AVOCADO PUREE AND GUACAMOLE, Proc. ...


23

While I couldn't find an online version of the original paper, "The Spin States of Carbenes. (No. 3036)", P.P. Gaspar and G.S. Hammond, Chapter 12 in "Carbene Chemistry", Vol. 1. W. Kirmse, Editor, Academic Press, New York, pp 235-274 (1964) at least it does exist. But there is a reference to it in the textbook "Organic Chemistry" by Morrison and ...


22

as hot as the surface of the sun Yeah, they like to claim self-contradicting things like this: HHO produces a 279 degree flame, that can sublimate tungsten in seconds at over 10,000 degrees. If this were really sublimating tungsten (boiling point of 5555 °C = 10031 °F), then yes, it would be hotter than the surface of the sun (5780 K = 9940 °F). But it'...


22

The prescriptionist scientist in me rejects the question as meaningless! The descriptivist in me compels me to try to answer the question you meant to ask. Both whole milk and skim milk (in the USA) may be fortified with vitamins A and/or D. Sharon Gerdes wrote in Dairy Foods (Feb 2009): The dairy industry has been adding vitamin D3 to milk since 1932. ...


22

Old glass window-panes are thicker at the bottom because the techniques to create glass with an even thickness are a rather recent innovation. Basically, Prior to the invention of the float-glass process, glass was made by either pouring molten glass into a flat-bottomed mold, running molten glass between rollers, or spun to produce a disc shape through ...


22

Yes, of course it's possible. It's one of the best ways to extract compounds in chemical workups via separating funnels: Denser liquids will move to the bottom of the funnel. Often polar or non-polar solvents will be added depending on the compound (Alcohols or Benzenes were common in my labs). You then open the tap at the bottom, extract whatever portion ...


22

There are several studies examining the intake of glyphosate, in many cases even deliberate intakes as a method of suicide. Most of these studies are not freely accessible (behind pay-walls), but in the abstract of the following study, you can find some numbers: Acute poisoning with a glyphosate-surfactant herbicide ('Roundup'): a review of 93 cases. The ...


20

Oxycontin (oxycodone) and heroin are both opioids, but not exactly the same substance. So, no, Oxycontin is not "pharmaceutical grade heroin" — thats an oversimplification to say they're both opioids (so they work in a similar way). Just take a look at their molecular structures to see that they're similar, but different: Heroin: Oxycodone:


20

The recipe The recipe is a secret. It is kept in a vault that is on display, but the recipe itself as with its other products are considered trade secrets. A trade secret is any information that allows you to make money because it is not generally known. A trade secret could be a formula, c­omputer program, process, method, device, technique, pricing ...


17

I immediately thought soot from the yellow flames and dry snow. It is people, many of whom are unfamiliar with snow, misunderstanding what is happening. There is a good description from Chris West at Metabunk where he sets out three points: The snow is melting, but the very loose fluffy structure of the snow wicks away the water, turing dry snow into wet ...


17

Red mercury does indeed exist, mercury (11) oxide (HgO) varies from yellow to red, here. The more fine the particles the more towards the yellow it is, the bigger the lumps, the more red. There is the neat trick that if you heat it in a low oxygen environment (say one in which there is charcoal to snap up the O2), it decomposes to mercury and oxygen (2HgO =>...


17

It's possible, but not so incredible. The article writer loves to paint a picture of towers which clean the air and by a magical process, produce diamonds. It is real and possible, but less glamorous. The towers suck in air and filter it. They trap pollution in filters. Normal, conventional filters. A rate of 70% cleaner is definitely possible. ...


17

There is no consistent evidence showing a relationship between glyphosate and cancer There are a lot of studies on the relationship between glyphosate use and cancer. Some are small and poor; others are large and more reliable. It is inevitable and likely that some of these studies will report a connection between the weedkiller and cancer just through ...


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