I Like Chemicals

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Today, I’m writing this post in defense of chemicals. Why? Because I like chemicals.

In this day and age, there is a big push to “go natural” and to be “chemical free.” If you google (or Swagbucks in my case – referral link) you’ll get a plethora of hits. They promise things like chemical free living and a chemical free home. Chemical free personal care and chemical free mattresses. Chemical free cleaning and even chemical free paper. Chemical reactions - an important part of the chemicals I like

But, these things are simply impossible. If you really had something that was chemical free, you would have literally nothing.  Everything that you can taste and see and hold is made up of chemicals. The air we breathe is made up of oxygen (and nitrogen and a few other stuff), but thankfully that chemical oxygen is there to keep us alive.

And let me tell you about my favorite chemical of all.

Dihydrogen Monoxide.

Without this chemical, we wouldn’t be alive. I am personally grateful for a tall refreshing glass of dihydrogen monoxide during the hot summer months.

Dihydrogen monoxide, you see, is just another name for water. But it sounds scary. And it sounds like a chemical. Well, that’s because it is a chemical. Chemicals are everywhere around us and there is nothing inherently bad about them. Yes, there are chemicals that harm you, but there are also lots of chemicals that we need for living.

However, clever marketers have played on people’s fears and introduced to them the idea of chemical free. That certain things must be better because they contain “no chemicals.” What they usually mean is that they contain only things found in nature. But the idea of those things not being chemicals is 100 percent false.

I mean, there are inherent problems with nature/natural equaling good and better for you, but I’ll discuss that in a different post.

But the bottom line is that “chemical free” is a misleading marketing ploy designed to get you to buy into whatever they are selling you that is supposedly “better” for you. So don’t fall for it! Do your research and find out if those “bad things” are really all that bad or if those “good things” are really all that good, but don’t worry about whether or not it’s made up of chemicals or not. Spoiler alert: it is! Even if it claims to be chemical free.

For further reading I recommend What Is – And What Isn’t – A Chemical and The “Ingredients” in Organic, All-Natural, Fruits & Eggs Are Not What You’d Expect.

Are you afraid of chemicals? What’s your favorite chemical? 

photo credit: Tom Simpson A delightfully gruesome reaction! via photopin (license) No changes made.

The Science of Mom Book Review

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Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of this book for free! Regardless, I would only give you my 100 percent honest opinion. You all know that 😉 This page also may contain affiliate links, where I’ll receive a small portion of the price if you buy through my link. 

Name of book: The Science of Mom: A Research-Based Guide to Your Baby’s First YearThe Science of Mom Book Cover

Author: Alice Callahan, PhD

Summary: There’s a lot of science out there about how to parent – and some of it is conflicting at times. In this book, Dr. Alice Callahan, PhD, wades through the science to help you understand it and figure out what the best choices for your family might be. It covers a wide range of topics including sleep, infant feeding and nutrition, and vaccines. 

Rating: 5 stars

Reason for rating: I have to say that I loved this book. It touches on such major topics as delayed cord clamping, the standard newborn procedures, breast milk or formula, sleep safety and sleep science, vaccines, and the introduction of solid foods. I consider myself to be a pretty well-researched parent – I’m always striving to learn more to try to make the best decisions for my kiddos – and I still learned tons from this book. Science is fascinating and I never knew that in high school, but I feel like I have learned that more and more since becoming an adult. Some of the stuff I learned in this book was huge (vaccines help reduce the SIDS risk) to just fascinating (In one study, babies were able to suck pacifiers faster in order to hear a recording of their mom reading Dr. Seuss). I loved that it takes a straight forward approach. I also love that she explained the science in a concise way that didn’t feel like she was dumbing it down. It was thrilling to learn so many new things and to learn more of the science behind choices that I had already made (like vaccines). I would recommend the book to anyone who is curious about how science and parenting interact and I would especially recommend it to people who have concerns about vaccines and to people who want to know more about introducing solid foods to their babies in terms of timing, what to introduce, and so on, as those are two sections that I think she covers especially well.  We do disagree on BLW a bit, but I still feel she makes some reasonable points about it – and this is an area where I feel there isn’t a ton of science yet, though she does do a good job covering the science that is out there. 

Find The Science of Mom on Amazon

Find The Science of Mom on Goodreads

Have you read The Science of Mom? What did you think of it? 

Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool Review and Giveaway!

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Name of book: Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool

Author: Taylor Clark

Summary (from Amazon): Nerves make us bomb job interviews, first dates, and SATs. With a presentation looming at work, fear robs us of sleep for days. It paralyzes seasoned concert musicians and freezes rookie cops in tight situations. And yet not everyone cracks. Soldiers keep their heads in combat; firemen rush into burning buildings; unflappable trauma doctors juggle patient after patient. It’s not that these people feel no fear; often, in fact, they’re riddled with it.

In Nerve, Taylor Clark draws upon cutting-edge science and painstaking reporting to explore the very heart of panic and poise. Using a wide range of case studies, Clark overturns the popular myths about anxiety and fear to explain why some people thrive under pressure, while others falter-and how we can go forward with steadier nerves and increased confidence.

Rating: 5

Reason for rating: I thought this was an excellent book. Even though it was a non-fiction book, it was a compelling read. He made the science really entertaining. It was also well organized and well thought out, something I especially appreciate in a non-fiction book. And I felt like I could use the science in my life. I really get stuck in worry sometimes and while I know I shouldn’t worry, sometimes understanding why I get sucked so easily into the worry loop (which he talks about) is helpful to ending the worry loop. Trust me, you do not want to miss this book. He makes the results of studies accessible, entertaining, and informative and looks at people in real life situations, not just hypothetical ones. I look forward to reading his other book someday.

Find Nerve on  Amazon

Find Nerve on Goodreads

And now for the giveaway! What happened was I won this book in a giveaway on another blog (which blog I don’t remember, it was a while ago, otherwise I would link to it) and I was accidentally shipped two copies of it. I called the publishing company and they said to keep it and do whatever I wanted with it. So in exchange, I am going to pass that along to you and giveaway my spare copy! No need for me to have two!

To enter, click on the link below that says a Rafflecoper giveaway and fill out the form – easy peesy! Let me know if you have any questions! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms: Contest is open to US only (sorry, I can’t afford to ship it internationally) ages 13 and older. Contest will end on December 1st at midnight (so last day to get your entries in is November 30th) and I will pick a winner using random.org. I am solely responsible for this giveaway and Little, Brown and Company are not responsible or affiliated in any way.

Disclosure: I won this in a giveaway on another blog! I am just reviewing it because I liked it and did not receive anything to do so. These thoughts are 100 percent real, honest, and mine. The Amazon link is also an affiliate link and if you purchase it through there, I will receive a small portion of the funds! Thanks for supporting me!

10 Finds for You – August 15th

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Okay, so one thing that I do is that I love to share other people’s articles and content. Why? Because there are a lot of great things out there. So periodically, I’ll do what I’m doing today, which is leave you a list of things I recommend reading (or watching). Just a few notes because I’m just going to leave the links and not add any of my extra commentary, leaving a link here does not mean I agree with everything on the site – I just think the particular link is interesting whether or not I agree with it. If you want to discuss any one in particular, leave a comment and I’ll happily discuss it with you and what I think about it.

Ten Things: A Roundup Worth Reading

1. What About American Girls Sold on the Streets?

2. Couple to attempt 50-mile swim across Lake Michigan

3. Women Scientists Still Face Discrimination

4. College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equality

5. Sentencing Juveniles

6. ‘The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness’ Author Brianna Karp Offers Advice to Young People on the Streets

7. One-third of tween clothes are sexy, study finds

8. More Alaska Families Choosing Home Schooling

9. Sex and Self-Esteem: A Big Boost for Men, Not So Much for Women

10. Movies to Watch with Your Kids on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Happy reading!


The Women in Time’s Most Influential List 2011: Felisa Wolfe-Simon

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I’m not immediately familiar with today’s person, Felisa Wolfe-Simon, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t influential. Let’s take a look at her.

  • She is a geobiochemical oceanographer.
  • She has a doctorate in Oceanography.
  • She also has a NASA fellowship in astrobiology.
  • Her primary work focuses on the idea that (and I’m quoting because I don’t really understand it well enough to put it into my own words) “a bacterium called GFAJ-1 could substitute arsenic, poisonous for most life forms, for phosphorus, considered an essential element for all living cells.”
  • That work is heavily disputed by others in her field and othersclaimto be unable to reproduce her results, a key part of the scientific process.

    From http://gulfofmexicooilspillblog.com/2010/12/05/gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill-blog-felisa-wolfe-simon-gfaj-1-microbe/

So, is she influential or not? I think it’s not a question that I can answer conclusively at this point. I think it depends a lot on whether or not her research turns out to be true. And that’s hard for me to answer because I don’t have the scientific background to be able to say whether or not her research is true. But it has stirred up quite the controversy in the scientific world – so I can’t say definitively whether it’s true or not because the scientific community can’t even decide whether it’s true or not. If her research is true, then it will change the way we think about life and how life works (according to everything I’ve read on it). And then she will have had a huge influence on the future and have been highly influential. If her research turns out to be just bad science, all she will be is the scientist who almost discovered something that didn’t exist and she might even become a laughingstock. So in my opinion, the jury is still out. Do you have any thoughts on Felisa Wolfe-Simon? Leave them below in the comments! 


Other influential women from Time’s Most Influential List 2011 that I profiled include Major General Margaret Woodward, Maria Bashir, Mia Wasikowska, Esther DufloOprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton, Blake Lively, Kate Middleton, Michele Bachmann, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Dilma Rousseff, Michelle Obama, Gabrielle Giffords, Aung San Suu Kyi, Kim Clijisters, Jennifer Egan, Amy Chua, Angela Merkel, Lisa Jackson, and Amy Poehler.

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