Chemistry

You are your gene expression: why it’s not surprising that meditation changes epigenetics

You are your gene expression: why it’s not surprising that meditation changes epigenetics

A study came out that was a rather nice demonstration of some molecular changes that actually drive the benefits of mindfulness meditation, and the response to it was all out of proportion. Which, I suppose, is where I come in. Because headlines like “Scientists finally find how meditating can CHANGE YOUR GENOME!” give me hives. »

A toast to sparkling wine!

A toast to sparkling wine!

New Year’s Eve is upon us, which means it’s time to break open the bubbly! Want to drop a little knowledge along with your toasts? Here’s a rundown on this most festive of beverages (including a video that changed my life forever): 1. Champagne is sparkling wine from a specific region of France east of Paris and can be made from white chardonnay, pinot noir, or pinot meunier. The... »

Hot Cocoa to help Light the Night

Hot Cocoa to help Light the Night

Congratulations to the Skepchick teams for raising over $2,500 for Light the Night and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! I promised to create a warm non-alcoholic beverage in honor of this achievement. However, I’m so proud of you all that I decided to make two recipes, one with booze and one without! Both are variations on hot cocoa, and I hope you enjoy–the treat is well-deserved!... »

Crowdfunding Science

Crowdfunding Science

As a scientist just beginning her career, the prospect of fishing for federal grant money in an increasingly overfished and under-populated lake is something I dread. As a denizen of silicon valley, I am surrounded by people whose go-to method for funding big, crazy ideas is crowdfunding. I’ve been party to endless debates on which platform to use, whether you need a platform at all, and whi... »

“Breaking Bland:” the Story of MSG

“Breaking Bland:” the Story of MSG

A while back, I wrote an post about the much-maligned, flavor-enhancing food additive MSG, its history, how it tastes, and where our unsupported concept of its harmful nature comes from. If my post whet your appetite, you might be interested in an article from John Mahoney posted to Buzzfeed a couple weeks ago. “Breaking Bland: The Notorious MSG’s Unlikely Formula for Success” lo... »

Hot! Capsaicin, Chili Peppers, and Jalapeño Jelly

Hot! Capsaicin, Chili Peppers, and Jalapeño Jelly

This post was inspired by a recent series of photos taken by Surly Amy of peppers she is growing at her home. The heat in peppers is an evolved mechanism that discourages mammals and other animals from eating the pepper and thus destroying the seeds. When we eat chili peppers, a compound called capsaicin triggers the receptors in our pain neurons. As Barb Stuckey writes in Taste What You’re ... »

What does 200 calories look like?

What does 200 calories look like?

There’s a pretty cool post over on Wise Geek of photos of 200 Calories’ worth of different foods, arranged in order by weight from least Calorie dense (you need a lot of it to get to 200 Calories) to most Calorie dense (just a little goes a long way). It’s pretty interesting to see the range of quantities, and there are some counter intuitive examples–for instance, Coca Col... »

The Cueva Ruso Cocktail

The Cueva Ruso Cocktail

As part of our fundraiser for SkepchickCON, I auctioned off three original cocktails. The follow post is for one of the winners, Data Jack. Thank for your generous contribution! The Cueva Ruso (“Russian Cave” in Spanish) features homemade horchata and cinnamon vodka. Horchata is a beverage found all around the globe, but this version is similar to what you would find in Mexico and is m... »

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