In an attempt to combat the media’s relentless pursuit of anxiety-producing headlines, the NY Times Science Page (July 29) just published a list of ten things you don’t have to worry about while you’re on vacation. While most of these are not guaranteed to be completely safe and worry-free, the latest results are promising. In redux:
1 – Hot Dogs – Saturated fat seems to be less of a worry than carbohydrates, says the latest in a series of studies
2 – A/C – Leaving your windows open at 65 mph creates air drag that cancels out the fuel savings from turning off the A/C
3 – Eating regionally – In terms of the carbon footprint, food is shipped more efficiently internationally than within a country and thus apples from New Zealand may have a smaller carbon footprint than those from Washington (though I bet that buying from your local farmers’ market is still your best bet)
4 – Cancer from cellphones – There’s no known mechanism for the radiation from cellphones to cause cancer, and there are no consistent links between phone use and cancer.
5 – Plastic bags – They use less energy to make, ship, and recycle and take up less space in landfills than paper bags.
6 – Toxic plastic bottles – Bisphenol-a (BPA) seems to have no evidence of harm in humans, at least in the low doses found in polycarbonate bottles.
7 – Sharks – Just one person died from a shark attack last year! [LINK TO PREVIOUS POST]
8 – Arctic Ice – While we do need to worry about long-term ice loss in the Arctic, the record ice losses predicted for this summer haven’t come to pass. (Although I’m not quite sure the NYT has this one write, and here’s a blog post about the melting ice and what we do have to worry about)
9 – The universe’s missing matter — You’re not to blame for losing it, and the universe isn’t likely to collapse anytime soon.
10 – Wormholes – Not likely. Neither is the destruction of the universe by a black hole created by the LHC.