By Dr. Joe Schwarcz
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Additional resources for Dr. Joe & What You Didn't Know: 99 Fascinating Questions About the Chemistry of Everyday Life
Annatto, a tropical shrub extract, is intensely colored due to the presence of the carotenoid bixin, and it can be used to color Cheddar cheese, margarine, and butter. This dye is completely harmless; in fact, the natural yellow color of butter is due to carotenoids found in grass. When grass dries into hay, these compounds are destroyed. Winter butter, therefore, tends to be white, and producers often add carotenoids to it to increase its market appeal. Obviously, then, when a lobster is plunged into boiling water, a lot of interesting chemistry occurs.
14. What are smelling salts? Victorian ladies fainted regularly. Characterized as the weaker sex, they were conditioned to fulfil the role. A little shock, such as that afforded by a perusal of the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover, would bring on a swoon. Someone would rush to find the smelling salts, open the little bottle, and wave it under the victim's nose. Recovery — at least as it's depicted in the movies — was almost immediate. The remarkable substance that resuscitated swooning ladies so effectively was ammonia vapor.
Her truths are too important to be prepackaged. My sincere hope is to let the voice of Barbie, my inner nametwin, come through. " 31 DR. JOE SCHWARCZ I won't dwell on the implications of all this, but I will mention that Barbara didn't get her chemistry right. The original Barbie dolls were made not of polyethylene but of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. When this plastic was made commercially available in 1942, it became the basis of a whole slew of vinyl products. The problem with PVC is that it is extremely brittle.
Dr. Joe & What You Didn't Know: 99 Fascinating Questions About the Chemistry of Everyday Life by Dr. Joe Schwarcz