Plants can take-up microplastics – should we be happy about it? [new study]

“Waiter, there’s plastic in my lettuce” isn’t a phrase you’d expect to hear very often. Nevertheless, several studies have now shown that plants can, and do, take-up microplastics [MPs] from the soil and incorporate them into stems, roots and leaves. Should we be worried – or happy? The latter is a possibility that should be […]

Volkswagen’s Ig Nobel Prize-winning research also used cartoon-watching monkeys

The research that won an Ig Nobel Chemistry Prize for Volkswagen also involved monkeys watching cartoons while they inhaled automobile fumes — a fact that was not publicly known at the time the prize was awarded. Nor was it known to the Ig Nobel Board of Governors. The monkeys/cartoons news was reported today by Jack […]

Diesel Trains May Expose Passengers to Exhaust [research study]

Passenger trains train a rain of exhaust on the passengers, if the trains burn diesel fuel and the passenger cars traipse dutifully behind the exhausting locomotive. Details are in this possibly-not-entirely-surprising study: “Exposure to ultrafine particles and black carbon in diesel-powered commuter trains,” Cheol-Heon Jeong, Alison Traub, Greg J. Evans, Atmospheric Environment, epub February 8, 2017. (Thanks […]

Complex Medical Insights: “Indoor Air Pollution, Nighttime Heart Rate Variability and Coffee Consumption among Convenient Store Workers”

Medical researchers, seeking insight, sometimes try to make simple sense of complex, difficult conglomerations of things that may or may not have effects on each other and on many other things. Sometimes coffee is involved, as is the case here: “Indoor Air Pollution, Nighttime Heart Rate Variability and Coffee Consumption among Convenient Store Workers,” Kai-Jen […]

God-awful pollution of India’s waters

Do the gods pollute? Scientists in India, worried about the public health consequences of immersing idols in lakes and rivers, have been looking anew at water pollution. They hope, and perhaps in some cases pray, to harmonise their medical concerns with some people’s religious priorities. Most of their research has focused on idols of the elephant-headed god Ganesh, created for […]