Wear a Helmet

By Astrid Popovici A few weeks ago, on a drizzly Sunday afternoon, I got bored of my chemistry homework and decided to go biking.  I went up a nearby mountain, pedaling until my legs burned on the uphills and smiling like an idiot as I enjoyed the brief downhills.   And then my bike slipped.  TheContinue reading “Wear a Helmet”

Crude Oils

By Astrid Popovici In the 1940s, American farmers were looking for ways to fatten up their pigs.  They tried feeding them coconut oil, but it made them leaner.  Thyroid-suppressing drugs were effective, but caused cancer in the pigs. But the farmers discovered that by feeding them corn and soybean oils, they could fatten the pigsContinue reading “Crude Oils”


By Astrid Popovici When most people think of plastic pollution, they imagine six-pack rings, bags, straws, or the pieces of trash you see on the side of the road.  But there’s also a more insidious type of plastic in the environment—microplastics, or plastic fragments less than 5 mm long.  That’s about the width of aContinue reading “Microplastics”

Taming Tribalism

By Astrid Popovici Tribalism is an ancient instinct. Infants as young as six months old show a preference towards members of their own race, according to two University of Toronto studies.  Humans have evolved to hold in-group loyalty, and we don’t grow out of it as adults either—just look at our love for team sportsContinue reading “Taming Tribalism”

Nuclear Power

By Astrid Popovici Often, when people talk about sources of energy, they compare fossil fuels and renewable energy, such as solar and wind power.  However, many people fail to consider a third choice: nuclear power. Nuclear power plants split radioactive uranium atoms in a process called fission, which releases energy.  This energy is used toContinue reading “Nuclear Power”